To Shakespeare or Not to Shakespeare? That is the question…

Shakespeare book.

I have the book called How To Teach Your Children Shakespeare and finished it about a year ago. I was totally excited about Shakespeare when I was done because he is so enthusiastic and I loved how he explained the characters and the plays he chose. I wanted to go find a well-done production and watch them all. =)

The week I finished the book, we started memorizing a passage  from A Midsummer Night’s Dream since we have already studied it and my children enjoyed it. We memorized a couple of his choices from that play and then skipped to other plays.

The author has children memorizing a variety of plays and passages. Depending on your children ages and maturity, I will caution that we need to be careful about which plays that we share and about what we choose to commit to our children’s memory.

Edited to add:

We have been memorizing Shakespeare for a year now. I made a memory box (see here) and have created review cards for each passage. The girls are loving this. We are currently finishing The Winter’s Tale (per JitterBug’s request) and have so much fun with it.  

Side benefits we have enjoyed:

  • the little family jokes as we quote certain passages at each other when something reminds us of it.
  • Reading the scriptures and other harder books is not so intimidating…in fact, Shakespeare has taken much of the “it’s to hard for me” away.  
  • And how much fun is it to listen to the kids as we are reading the lines aloud to hear them start putting expression into it – even plays that they have not read before?  The ability to use your voice and tones to create an enjoyable reading experience for an audience is important….whether it is for a large audience or for a single child who learns to love books because of your excitement over the words and story.
  • The passages we choose make great quotes for a Book of Mottoes (aka a Commonplace Book)
  • We have some great discussions about events that occur in the plays. It’s a good way to discuss how to handle various situations in life.

Another thing that I am enjoying after reading about some of Shakespeare’s plays (as well as actually reading the plays) is how much richer other books are – including CM’s Original Series – because I understand the story lines of the characters the author is referring to. There are so many subtle nuances that you lose when you don’t know the story. I feel the same way about mythological references in books. You miss something the author is speaking of when you don’t know the story they are referencing.  Anyway…off my soapbox… 🙂

We will continue to memorize Shakespeare and we will choose our own passages from the plays we actually have read. I think in the end it will mean more to them because they will have already made their own connections with it.


3 thoughts on “To Shakespeare or Not to Shakespeare? That is the question…

  1. mismymo

    Wow—your little kids already know more about Shakespeare than I do. Which is pathetic because i loved what little i did read. Keep up the good work!

  2. karenspath

    Love it. I remember having to memorize quotes from Shakespeare when I was in high school. I still remember several of them. They are like the spots on Lady MacBeth’s hands….


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