Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Reading Shakespeare Makes You Smarter?

An article by Robert McCrum of the The Observer, now a bit dated since it hails from April, scratches the surface of the idea that the process of reading Shakespeare ostensibly makes you smarter! Studies by Prof. Phillip Davis of Liverpool University have found through neurological analysis by MRI scanning that “functional shifts of syntax in Shakespeare might have impact on the pathways of the brain.”

While the article starts off by giving several reasons why we are still enthralled with Shakespeare’s work in the 21st century, the latter bit drums up some interesting questions about cognitive development and how studying Shakespeare affects the brain.

I know students (very young in fact)who certainly feel smarter or their intelligence challenged and validated by studying Shakespeare. Could this be the start of actually quantifying the impact? Does reading Shakespeare make you smarter?

One Comment

  • It’s an interesting idea to say that Shakespeare makes you smarter. There are some studies of secondary students that have shown studying Shakespeare’s plays have helped them to become better critical readers. I’m not sure that studying Shakespeare makes people smarter. It might just give them the tools they need to maximize their learning abilities. And that’s significant.

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