Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean………………………….
Do you recognize these words? This is the prologue to Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” and one of the few things I remember from high school. I was a sophomore in Mrs. Payne’s English Class and memorizing and performing these words were a requirement. Now, in my thirties being able recite this prologue on cue in the midst of ordinary conversation still brings me a great sense of well being and pride! I may not be the most well traveled and cultured person I know, but hey I can quote some Shakespeare 🙂 Can you? Can your kids? Can you honestly say that you enjoyed your study of Shakespeare? Sadly, my college experience with Shakespeare was all drudgery and laborious interpretation. My goal is that my kids get to experience Shakespeare as a written art form that when performed comes to life.
How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare, Ludwig recognizes that Shakespeare is literature meant to be performed and understood, not tortuously read and labored over with Cliff Notes. He shares 25 of his favorite passages that he has identified as being the most kid friendly. He instructs parents on how to help their children memorize these sections. He provides explanation of many of the words so that Shakespeare’s works can be understood and he includes historical elements of Shakespeare’s life that impacted his work throughout the text. He also provides exercises to make the reading aloud and performing of Shakespeare enjoyable for children as young as six.
I was very pleased with Ludwig’s approach and his easy to read text. I found myself treated to little tidbits of information about the meaning of passages in some of the famous plays I have read over the years, like Romeo and Juliet that I didn’t fully understand until reading Ludwig’s book. I strongly recommend that if you have any interest in teaching your children Shakespeare, especially if it feels like an overwhelming or taxing prospect, you should absolutely give this book a try. I am so very excited to have found this resource and am thrilled to be armed with a resource enabling me to study and experience Shakespeare in an enjoyable way with my children.
Ludwig has a a website: http://www.howtoteachyourchildrenshakespeare.com/ that includes some additional information about the book, an excerpt available for your review, printable quotation sheets to aid with memorization and performance, as well as audio clips and recommended additional resources.
Do you incorporate Shakespeare into your home school? I’d love to know resources/techniques you have used?
About the Author:
Ken Ludwig is an internationally acclaimed playwright who has had numerous hits on Broadway, in London’s West End, and throughout the world. He has won two Laurence Olivier Awards (England’s highest theater honor), two Tony Award nominations, two Helen Hayes Awards, and an Edgar Award. His work has been commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Bristol Old Vic, and his plays have been performed in over thirty countries in more than twenty languages. His best-known works include Lend Me a Tenor, Crazy for You, Moon over Buffalo, Leading Ladies, Shakespeare in Hollywood, The Game’s Afoot, The Fox on the Fairway, and adaptations of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Three Musketeers, Treasure Island, and The Beaux’ Stratagem. He holds degrees from Harvard, where he studied music with Leonard Bernstein, Haverford College, and Cambridge University.
“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”