Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Shakespeare Shopping List

‘Tis the season to be thinking about presents! I’ve fielded calls from a couple of parents and teachers searching for recommendations of Shakespeare resources and items for students or friends. In case you’re wondering, too, or have recommendations for ME, read on!

Audio Shakespeare:
I get a lot of questions during the school year from parents and teachers who want an audio recording for their aural learning students to read along with. Arkangel Audio has done a complete series of fully dramatized Shakespeare plays with the voice talents of Royal Shakespeare Company actors. At our webinar last week I learned about Speak the Speech, an independant site which currently has 7 audio plays available for free. Finally, using Audacity or another recording and editing program, you and your students can make your OWN audio plays!

Shakespeare for Kids:
How do you start kids off with Shakespeare? We’ve found some excellent books about Shakespeare and his plays which we provide for SSO classrooms: Tales from Shakespeare and Shakespeare’s Stories are wonderful first-reads to get acquainted with the plots of the plays, and both use lines from the text as dialogue.  Lucretia discovered a really cool book of folk tales that found their way into Shakespeare’s plays (maybe because he heard them growing up!): Shakespeare’s Storybook. I will always recommend Shakespeare: The Animated Tales – 25-minute cartoon versions of 12 plays – because I watched them when I was eight and still love them enough to watch them on my iPod!

Shakespeare for Teens:
In this era of Twilight and Harry Potter obsession, I feel confident in saying today’s teens still read. But are they reading Shakespeare? If they’re resistant, a good novel like The Third Witch or graphic novel like Kill Shakespeare might get them in the mood to try Macbeth or Hamlet. If they’re having trouble with a whole play, the 30-minute Shakespeare series by Nick Newlin cuts around the interesting bits of plot for student productions. If they’ve already “drunk the Shakespeare kool-aid” as Niki says, they might find interest in a copy of a play they haven’t read yet (Pericles? Henry VIII? Cymbeline?) or a complete collection of sonnets and poems.

Shakespeare Enthusiasts:
What do you get the nerd who has everything? A tee shirt that says “I Hearteth the Bard-eth”?  Perhaps tickets to a local performance of Comedy of Errors, or a beautifully illustrated edition of Hamlet are more their speed. You could also help them find the nearest movie theatre playing The Tempest!

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Shakespeare Educators:
You might already have every volume of Shakespeare Set Free and our Teaching Shakespeare Toolkit – so what’s on your wishlist?

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