Category Archives: Shakespeare

Drama Queens & Handicrafts, Part 2: Readers Theater

 

Our second term began with the basic introduction of a readers theater that would perform once a week for Mom and Dad. To this end, I purchased several books that I thought would help them to stay on track and have short successful {where we enjoy them and not get mad at each other} shows. There were three topics: Greek Myths, Shakespeare, and Silly Fairy Tales.

greek myth scripts

Readers Theater Books

I gave JitterBug (she’s my organizer and go-getter) the books when they arrived and explained what I had in mind. Then I talked to all the girls about it and told them that Dad and I would be available once a week and we would love to see what they wanted to perform. It has been so much fun!

Here are some pics from Spiderella:

Spiderella & Fairy Godmother

JuneBug is Spiderella (in her work clothes here) and she is showing me the Fairy Godmother (BittyBug’s stuffed elephant they dressed up, LOL).

The Prince

The Prince (but why he is in a dress is a mystery!)

At the ball

Dancing at the ball while the stepsisters primp in the background.

Fighting over the Prince

Fighting over the Prince.

Spiderella Proposal

The proposal.

Curtain Call

The Curtain Call – they look happy and satisfied, don’t they? 😉

Because it is reader’s theater no one has to memorize lines, there doesn’t have to be long practices, and it is short and moves along…I think the longest we’ve sat and watched one was about 15-20 minutes. 

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.