This post is a review of the book How to Teach Yur Children Shakespeare. I was compensated for my time in reviewing the product, writing the review, and offering the giveaway. The opinions in this post are my own (and my kids).
Shakespeare is one area where I’ve always wanted to know more but didn’t quite know where to begin. I remember reading Hamlet in high school but not much of it stuck with me. And by not much, I mean I remember the title. No one took the time to break it down and teach us how to read Hamlet. So I was really excited to get my hands on Ludwig’s book How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare. I figured if I could teach my children, then I could probably also learn it myself. (Yes, I take time out to teach my kids things I actually want to learn. It’s not totally selfish if they’re interested as well, right?).
- How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare presents a step by step method of learning Shakespeare
- Kids can learn Shakespeare and love it
- You can learn it too (really, you can!)
- Shakespeare is 10 times more fascinating when you understand it! And Ludwig breaks it all down in his book
- Buy it here: How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare
But let’s be honest, teaching Shakespeare to Kids (or even ourselves) is not easily done! Well, not for most of us! Shakespeare is considered a difficult read for a reason (mostly because his work is 400 years old and our language evolves!). So here are 5 simple steps to teaching Shakespeare to your kids and learning it yourself as well!
- Read How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare. I definitely suggest reading the book all the way through before starting to teach. The more I’ve read, the more I’ve understood. But even if you decide to just read it with your children, this should be the first step. Ludwig uses the language from Shakespeare to teach Shakespeare which is important.
- Print out the Quotation Passage Pages. You should actually print these as you go through the book. There are 25 passages to learn in the book and a quotation sheet for each of them!
- Memorize the passages yourself and with your children. The passages are easy to memorize when you understand what they mean and when you feel the rhythm. However, some of us will need extra tricks for memorizing! You can use sentence strips (make it a game!), hand clapping, jumping, echoing, or any number of techniques. Find one method that works for you and repeat!
- Read Shakespeare! We have a collection of kids versions, but they more summaries of the stories. But that is fine for our purpose – we just want to understand the general idea of what is going on before trying to read the real works.
- Read About Shakespeare. The man behind the words is just as interesting as the works themselves! Shakespeare lived in a time period that is quite foreign to us. A unit study about him might answer some questions about his stories and the meaning behind them. We love the Who Was…series, so Who Was William Shakespeare is our go to!
More About How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare
Ludwig takes a fairly simple position on teaching Shakespeare while fleshing out the story. It all starts with A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I’ve never actually read this but I found myself enraptured in the story while I was trying to skim through Ludwig’s book. The story started to come to life and I had some serious questions about the plot. So I kept reading and finding out more. Ludwig has an impressive ability of breaking it down to understandable chunks. There is no guessing as to the meaning with him – it is very clear.
How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare uses a combination of memorization and rhythm to entice the work of Shakespeare. I’m not a big fan of memorization in general, but I found it interesting in this context. Shakespeare is one of the world’s most well known writers and his work is quoted constantly. Having a selection of Shakespeare quotes at the ready is not a bad thing at all. In fact, I think the memorization is key.
Ludwig has passage quotation sheets available on his website, How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare. The quotation sheets are wonderful and help with learning the rhythm. You can see the one below and how the natural rhythm is broken up on the page.
How we Adapted Shakespeare for our Homeschool
My kids are very much hands on learners. When I first pulled out the book to start going through it with them, they were interested but reserved. We started going over some of the passages and I could tell they would need more practice before they really memorized them. We use the passage pages and also utilized hand clapping and foot stomping to work on the rhythm.
I also made some spiffy little sentence cards. Each word is on it’s own card and they can memorize the passages kind of like a puzzle. At the beginning I would put out most of the words and let them fill in the blanks. Or I would put half together and let them finish the rest. My intention is that eventually they can put all the cards in order.
We also pulled out these Shakespeare for Kids books that we received as a gift some time back. I’ve been a little hesitant to introduce them to the story line without the incredible writing of Shakespeare. After all, the story is just a part of the wonder that is Shakespeare. But Royal and Logi-Bear (7 and 5) needed a little help with the story line. Baloo (10) and I were able to just read Ludwig’s book (and of course, Shakespeare’s). These books are great for summaries of the stories but you’ll definitely want to read the real stores, too.
Where to Find Ken Ludwig and His Book!
Win a Copy of How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare
Ken Ludwig is giving away 10 copies of his book! Make sure to enter so you can win.