Saturday, July 23, 2016

How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare


Rating: 5 Stars

Loved this book. Loved, loved, loved it. I breezed through the book in a matter of hour one morning - obviously meaning that I did not yet memorize the passages yet for myself. I was interested in the explanations first, and will go back through when my daughter is a little bit older for the big passages. That is kind of a gimme, seeing as how she is yet a toddler. Though, she does have one phrase memorized already, because we say it together before bedtime every night: "And though she be but little, she is fierce" (A Midsummer Night's Dream) and we shout 'fierce' together, because she is.

I was a bit skeptical (as a teacher) about the method the author uses of just rote memorization. But as I read, and realized the author was also explaining what the passages meant in accompanying t-charts, this method makes perfect sense. The author does not just list a bunch of passages, tell you to memorize them, and move on. He begins little by little, first with shorter couplets and such, before moving on to the massive soliloquies. 

This book has so much to offer besides the memorization of certain passages. The author also explains what they mean, gives background of Shakespeare's life and work. The book is just filled with so much Shakespeare-y goodness, I really don't know where to start. I would definitely recommend it to those who find Shakespeare intimidating or *gasp* boring (do I really know people like that? I might, but given that I am not quiet a out my adoration of Shakespeare, perhaps these people in my life have chosen to remain quiet?) Either way, I do believe there is something for everyone here - very obviously including children.

Ludwig states that he started teaching his daughter Shakespeare when she was six years old. I think that is fantastic. Shakespeare is, without question, the single greatest writer in the history of the world. There's no argument, he invented so many words and phrases, most of which we still use today. I guarantee you (and me too, even) use phrases or variations every day that we have no idea started with Shakespeare. His contributions can never be overstated and that is why I wanted this book - I want my daughter to know and love his words as I do.

I did notice some reviews from parents who did not like some of the author's choice of passages - mainly those with sexual overtones. My suggestion: don't teach your child those if you feel they are so inappropriate. Is that really hard? You'd think this would be common sense. There's nothing saying you MUST TEACH YOUR CHILD ALL THE PASSAGES IN THIS BOOK. It would be easy enough to apply the method he uses to ANY Shakespeare passage that you love or enjoy and teach your child in that way. I mean seriously, come on.

I absolutely, positively, 100% recommend this book for anyone wanting to learn more about Shakespeare and his words, to memorize and know his works, not just children. Fantastic read. Go get it!


  1. Well, this sounds amazing. Must see if my library has it. My kids have read these great abridged versions of 20 of his plays, and they know I'm obsessed with Hamlet, so they're always kind of vaguely interested in Shakespeare because it's a Big Deal for Mommy. Maybe I can incorporate this into lit this year.

    1. It is one of the best Shakespeare books I have ever read - I recommend buying it (especially since he is a Big Deal for you!) The passages he teaches and the method is pretty cool, while also teaching what the plays are about. I would love for my daughter to read the abridged versions to start with, I kinda dig Shakespeare too and when the First Folio was traveling on display a couple years ago I took my daughter and a friend. They had the Folio opened to Hamlet's Soliloquy and I pretty much stood there and cried. It was beautiful. I actually picked this book up at the museum after seeing the exhibit.


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