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A foolproof, enormously fun method of teaching your children the classic works of William Shakespeare William Shakespeares plays are among the great bedrocks of Western civilization and contain the finest writing of the past 450 years. Many of the best novels, plays, poetry, and films in the English language produced since Shakespeares death in 1616from Jane Austen to The A foolproof, enormously fun method of teaching your children the classic works of William Shakespeare William Shakespeare’s plays are among the great bedrocks of Western civilization and contain the finest writing of the past 450 years. Many of the best novels, plays, poetry, and films in the English language produced since Shakespeare’s death in 1616—from Jane Austen to The Godfather—are heavily influenced by Shakespeare’s stories, characters, language, and themes.  In a sense, his works are a kind of Bible for the modern world, bringing us together intellectually and spiritually.  Hamlet, Juliet, Macbeth, Ophelia, and a vast array of other singular Shakespearean characters have become the archetypes of our consciousness. To know some Shakespeare provides a head start in life.  In How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare, acclaimed playwright Ken Ludwig provides the tools you need to instill an understanding, and a love, of Shakespeare’s works in your children, and to have fun together along the way. Ken Ludwig devised his methods while teaching his own children, and his approach is friendly and easy to master. Beginning with  memorizing short specific passages from Shakespeare's plays, this method then instills children with cultural references they will utilize for years to come. Ludwig’s approach includes understanding of the time period and implications of Shakespeare’s diction as well as the invaluable lessons behind his words and stories.  Colorfully incorporating the history of Shakespearean theater and society, How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare guides readers on an informed and adventurous journey through the world in which the Bard wrote. This book’s simple process allows anyone to impart to children the wisdom of plays like A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet. And there’s fun to be had along the way. Shakespeare novices and experts, and readers of all ages, will each find something delightfully irresistible in How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare.


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A foolproof, enormously fun method of teaching your children the classic works of William Shakespeare William Shakespeares plays are among the great bedrocks of Western civilization and contain the finest writing of the past 450 years. Many of the best novels, plays, poetry, and films in the English language produced since Shakespeares death in 1616from Jane Austen to The A foolproof, enormously fun method of teaching your children the classic works of William Shakespeare William Shakespeare’s plays are among the great bedrocks of Western civilization and contain the finest writing of the past 450 years. Many of the best novels, plays, poetry, and films in the English language produced since Shakespeare’s death in 1616—from Jane Austen to The Godfather—are heavily influenced by Shakespeare’s stories, characters, language, and themes.  In a sense, his works are a kind of Bible for the modern world, bringing us together intellectually and spiritually.  Hamlet, Juliet, Macbeth, Ophelia, and a vast array of other singular Shakespearean characters have become the archetypes of our consciousness. To know some Shakespeare provides a head start in life.  In How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare, acclaimed playwright Ken Ludwig provides the tools you need to instill an understanding, and a love, of Shakespeare’s works in your children, and to have fun together along the way. Ken Ludwig devised his methods while teaching his own children, and his approach is friendly and easy to master. Beginning with  memorizing short specific passages from Shakespeare's plays, this method then instills children with cultural references they will utilize for years to come. Ludwig’s approach includes understanding of the time period and implications of Shakespeare’s diction as well as the invaluable lessons behind his words and stories.  Colorfully incorporating the history of Shakespearean theater and society, How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare guides readers on an informed and adventurous journey through the world in which the Bard wrote. This book’s simple process allows anyone to impart to children the wisdom of plays like A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet. And there’s fun to be had along the way. Shakespeare novices and experts, and readers of all ages, will each find something delightfully irresistible in How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare.

30 review for How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare

  1. 4 out of 5

    Manuel Antão

    If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. If we cant all be Shakespeares, it doesnt make us less in the world; the understanding makes us more. I want your children to be inspired by Shakespeare for the many years to come when they believe that they can do anything as long as they work hard enough at it. The above quotes are both from the epilogue, and they both fitting conclusions to an extraordinary book. Ludwigs love of Shakespeare is evident and he makes us want to learn If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. “If we can’t all be Shakespeares, it doesn’t make us less in the world; the understanding makes us more.” “I want your children to be inspired by Shakespeare for the many years to come when they believe that they can do anything as long as they work hard enough at it”. The above quotes are both from the epilogue, and they both fitting conclusions to an extraordinary book. Ludwig’s love of Shakespeare is evident and he makes us want to learn more and to develop a deeper understanding of Shakespeare’s works. I feel myself more knowledgeable in terms of Shakespeareana after having read it. Personally, I adore Shakespeare. You can read the rest of this review elsewhere.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kristy

    I have a great love and appreciation for the works of William Shakespeare, especially his comedies. I was fortunate to have been introduced to Shakespeare's works by my mom while I was in middle school and I definitely reaped the benefits in high school and college. So it was a pleasant surprise when I came across this work by playwright Ken Ludwig. I'll admit I was a bit skeptical that I would be able to teach my 6 and 7 year old how to memorize and recite passages from some of The Bard's I have a great love and appreciation for the works of William Shakespeare, especially his comedies. I was fortunate to have been introduced to Shakespeare's works by my mom while I was in middle school and I definitely reaped the benefits in high school and college. So it was a pleasant surprise when I came across this work by playwright Ken Ludwig. I'll admit I was a bit skeptical that I would be able to teach my 6 and 7 year old how to memorize and recite passages from some of The Bard's greatest works. My skepticism was short lived and by the time I reached the third chapter I was excited to try out the techniques Ludwig outlines in this work. (I managed to hold off on experimenting on my children until after I finished reading the manual.) The layout of the book was very helpful and often times it felt like I was participating in a really good classroom lecture. Ludwig begins his instruction by informing the reader about the benefits of introducing young children to Shakespeare and how it has also brought his family closer together. After this introduction Ludwig gives an outline of the rest of the book. The rest of the book consists of instructions on how to teach the 25 chosen passages (the quotation printouts available on the website were very helpful.) But it's not all about tricks on to how to recite and memorize the prose, the author also gives a brief age appropriate (and simple) explanation or modern translation of the passage. He also goes into the main plot points behind each play introduced without getting too academic. In compliance with FTC guidelines,I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads. All views and opinions expressed are my own and I received no compensation for this or any other review posted by myself on Goodreads.com.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Manybooks

    Yes indeed and appreciatively, playwright Ken Ludwig has with his How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare most definitely created an absolutely wonderful and very much useful teaching and learning tool, presenting the works of William Shakespeare extensively and intensively, with general plot analyses of his plays, as well as deeper interpretations and of course also relevant information and details on William Shakespeares life and times, on the English theatre during the reigns of Elizabeth I Yes indeed and appreciatively, playwright Ken Ludwig has with his How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare most definitely created an absolutely wonderful and very much useful teaching and learning tool, presenting the works of William Shakespeare extensively and intensively, with general plot analyses of his plays, as well as deeper interpretations and of course also relevant information and details on William Shakespeare’s life and times, on the English theatre during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I (knowledge geared primarily towards younger learners and in the form of a guidebook on how to successfully teach Shakespeare in a way that is both enjoyable and enables lasting retention). And considering how out of fashion learning by rote and memorisation seems to currently be, I for one do massively cheer that in How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare Ken Ludwig actively promotes and totally encourages having children (having students) learn Shakespeare’s plays (as well as his sonnets) by heart. For indeed, when we were covering Shakespeare’s plays in junior and senior high school English (as we read at least one play a year from grade seven to grade twelve) it was generally those teachers who made us memorise and even perform in class entire scenes from Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, The Comedy of Errors etc. who were able to not only instil in us a lasting appreciation of William Shakespeare, of the Bard of Avon, but to also help us with more easily being able to delve deeper into Shakespeare, to interpret and analyse both what lies on and below the surface of both his tragedies and his comedies as well as even his historical dramas (and certainly much more so than with those instructors who just made us read the assigned Shakespeare dramas silently at home, who never once made us memorise and then act out scenes). Combined with wonderful appendices and an absolutely spectacular bibliography, I do indeed and very highly recommended How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare (and both as a teaching and as a learning tool, for both in class and at home use, with How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare being in my opinion of particular benefit for homeschooling, but yes, also for parents who might be unhappy with how their children are being taught Shakespeare at school, for unfortunately, as mentioned above, there seems to be a rather allergic reaction at present against rote learning and memorisation, even though with regard to teaching and learning dramatic works, the latter really does in fact work very well and with usually quite good and also long term and lasting results).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I won this book from First Reads. I found this book to be enjoyable, and wish I'd had it when I was in high school English class. Plots from some of the plays were explained in a way that was really easy to understand! There are a couple of pieces of Shakespeare I had wanted to try and learn for the fun of it, and this book had some nice tips for learning them. This is one I plan on keeping around for sure if I ever have kids of my own someday.

  5. 5 out of 5

    ladydusk

    Library. I know nothing about Shakespeare or his works. Seriously, I am just starting to learn about Shakespeare. Oh, I know what is "common knowledge." I recognize some lines from Shakespeare and probably which play they're from. I think I read Romeo and Juliet in High School (Freshman English? Maybe? and maybe Macbeth at some point). It's possible - highly likely even - I only "read" the parts that we read in class. This book was a big help. Ludwig walks the reader through many plays, Library. I know nothing about Shakespeare or his works. Seriously, I am just starting to learn about Shakespeare. Oh, I know what is "common knowledge." I recognize some lines from Shakespeare and probably which play they're from. I think I read Romeo and Juliet in High School (Freshman English? Maybe? and maybe Macbeth at some point). It's possible - highly likely even - I only "read" the parts that we read in class. This book was a big help. Ludwig walks the reader through many plays, introducing the play -its plot, characters, and philosophy - by way of certain lines to memorize. Some are more well known than others. His own love for Shakespeare flows from each page. His excitement over the words and ideas, particularly the idea of the world and the stage coinciding, is palpable. Ludwig doesn't even touch the controversy of "Who was Shakespeare?" but takes him at face value. I can't say that I think the title is particularly true to the book. Teaching Shakespeare to your children seems to be more about memorizing - using a few tools - than anything else. He does recommend acting out the scenes. He recommends using art in a way I hadn't thought about. But, mostly, it is learning sections - lines, soliloquies, epigrams - by heart. He talks about different figures of speech and poetics, how Shakespeare wrote to tell you how to act, and some allusions he made. For many of the passages, he provides a modern language paraphrase. But, in general, he wants you and your children to memorize Shakespeare. (Yes, I said that three times) I'm happy to see memorization coming back into vogue. The Appendices are full of excellent information: a bibliography, other famous passages and or lines, and a list of resources from books to video to audio. The book might be worth owning simply for the Appendices. One, minor, issue. And I already told you I don't know anything about Shakespeare, remember? But Ludwig, as a playwright, seems to bring forward that idea of theater representing real life a lot. In almost every chapter, almost every passage, toward the end of the book that idea is considered from a different aspect. I thought that, perhaps, there would be some other aspects of Shakepeare's ideas discussed ... and the lack of mention of the influence of scripture or God or a playwright (one explanation of an allusion to Proverbs and one brief, almost ashamed, mention of the possibility of a supernatural playwright was all I noted in this vein) A great introduction, though. An easy read with short chapters and helpful information, I definitely recommend it to those who wish to learn about Shakespeare or teach him to their children.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Monika

    Originally posted on my blog, A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall: Confession: I am a very reluctant Shakespeare reader. I don't remember being exposed to his works before high school, and I don't remember my teachers showing much spirit when Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar came along on the syllabus. We're a homeschooling family, and I know there will be time I'll have to teach things I'm not terribly interested in. But I want my daughter to appreciate Shakespeare's works in the same way I want Originally posted on my blog, A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall: Confession: I am a very reluctant Shakespeare reader. I don't remember being exposed to his works before high school, and I don't remember my teachers showing much spirit when Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar came along on the syllabus. We're a homeschooling family, and I know there will be time I'll have to teach things I'm not terribly interested in. But I want my daughter to appreciate Shakespeare's works in the same way I want her to appreciate great pieces of art or music: because these works are "part of our cultural DNA and cannot be missed," as Ken Ludwig says. Although I have concerns that it is too late for me, I'd love to enjoy Shakespeare, too. Thank you, Ken Ludwig, for writing How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare. I didn't even have to warm up to it! He writes about Shakespeare in such an engaging way, with vivaciousness, passion, and a wildly contagious enthusiasm. Not only do I find myself having a sense of awe and appreciation for what I'm reading, I'm falling in love with the words, the way they are crafted, their deeper meaning. If Ludwig can do this for me as an adult, someone so reluctant and with major Shakespearean hang-ups... the possibilities for using this in my child's education are huge. Ludwig starts off with a very simple (but stunning) seven-word line from A Midsummer's Night Dream, tackling it very briefly. He moves on to discuss Shakespeare's importance and to give a bit of explanation about the layout of the book and key factors in learning to appreciate and enjoy his works. Ludwig then gets back to the literature itself, complete with synopses, selected passages, explanations, and suggestions for memorization. The book's website offers printable quotation sheets and audio clips of all twenty-six passages. Because of its focus on memorization and recitation, classical and Charlotte Mason homeschoolers will find How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare especially useful. We're more of a relaxed/eclectic homeschooling family, but the enthusiasm within this book has earned it a permanent place on our bookshelf. I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Helena Sorensen

    A pleasure from cover to cover. Accessible, exuberant, and inspiring. *runs off to read every Shakespeare play, memorize 50 passages, and watch every film adaptation*

  8. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    This was both a great introduction to several of Shakespeare's plays, as well as a practical guide to introducing him to your children through the explanation and memorization of 25 passages from 9 different plays (as well as suggestions for "bonus passages"). I was thoroughly inspired by Ken Ludwig's obvious love of Shakespeare and convinced that memorizing is the way to go if you want to really develop a love for and understanding of his work. This was somewhat of a revelation for me, as I This was both a great introduction to several of Shakespeare's plays, as well as a practical guide to introducing him to your children through the explanation and memorization of 25 passages from 9 different plays (as well as suggestions for "bonus passages"). I was thoroughly inspired by Ken Ludwig's obvious love of Shakespeare and convinced that memorizing is the way to go if you want to really develop a love for and understanding of his work. This was somewhat of a revelation for me, as I have so far just read a few children's versions of the plays to my kids, and while they have their place, I think now that the real beauty of Shakespeare is in the actual words he used and how he put them together. I want my kids (and myself!) to see and understand that, and not just know the plots of the various plays. I didn't necessarily agree with all his ideas, and would probably delay introducing some of the plays and/or characters until my kids are older, but overall I learned so much from this book and would highly recommend it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Danielle DeVane Wells

    I did not realize that this book is practically a manual on literally how to teach your children Shakespeare. Each chapter introduces a new work of Shakespeare or the subsequent part of one of his works. The author suggests beginning teaching children Shakespeare at the age of six.I read the first chapter and skimmed through the other chapters. I'm not quite ready to teach my 5 and 3 year old this, but it will stay on my shelf for when the time comes. It seemed easy to follow and practical!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lauriann

    "Shakespeare should not be an occasional visitor. He should be a permanent houseguest, living in that spare room down the hall, ready to join you for a meal or an evening whenever you crave his company." Everyone with kids should read this book. Everyone without kids should read this book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alanna Truong

    This is the book I will credit with really getting me into Shakespeare. I cannot WAIT to read, listen to and watch everything Shakespeare, then memorize favourite passages on top of it all. So begins what will likely be a lifelong obsession...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    not just children-smile

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Easily the best book we did "all together" in 2014-2015 school year. I wish there were a sequel.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Susan Liston

    4.5 A small percentage of this book did not apply to me as I am not teaching anything to any children, but to myself, and for that, it was terrific. A superb tool for de-mystifying Shakespeare for anyone. And what a wealth of great passages and quotes to hopefully use to memorize (if you aren't a beginner you know a lot of this already but its a nice review and reminder) show off and annoy! (anyone who does get irritated if one quotes Shakespeare is merely jealous and secretly impressed, after 4.5 A small percentage of this book did not apply to me as I am not teaching anything to any children, but to myself, and for that, it was terrific. A superb tool for de-mystifying Shakespeare for anyone. And what a wealth of great passages and quotes to hopefully use to memorize (if you aren't a beginner you know a lot of this already but its a nice review and reminder) show off and annoy! (anyone who does get irritated if one quotes Shakespeare is merely jealous and secretly impressed, after all, right? Right?)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lekeshua

    I have a new found appreciation and courage to tackle Shakespeare. I recall being assigned to read Shakespeare without any hand holding. Shakespeare writing is deeper than what meets the eye and as a high schooler trying to read and truly understand was difficult. I no longer feel that way and plan on sharing this with my children. Ken Ludwig along with Charlotte Mason has inspired me to share Shakespeare with my children from the beginning and not wait until they are in high school. I believe I have a new found appreciation and courage to tackle Shakespeare. I recall being assigned to read Shakespeare without any hand holding. Shakespeare writing is deeper than what meets the eye and as a high schooler trying to read and truly understand was difficult. I no longer feel that way and plan on sharing this with my children. Ken Ludwig along with Charlotte Mason has inspired me to share Shakespeare with my children from the beginning and not wait until they are in high school. I believe starting earlier helps us create a relationship with this great man. Thank you Jennifer for this amazing gift. It has touched my heart!!!!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Abby

    This book was a joy to read. Ludwig teaches you how to help your children memorize key passages from Shakespeare's plays. Each passage he uses he gives you an introduction to the play and plot so your children can understand the context of the part they are memorizing. This book deepened my love and appreciation for Shakespeare's works (and I already loved them quite a bit). I can't wait to use this book with my children when they are older, and I think I may start memorizing the passages myself This book was a joy to read. Ludwig teaches you how to help your children memorize key passages from Shakespeare's plays. Each passage he uses he gives you an introduction to the play and plot so your children can understand the context of the part they are memorizing. This book deepened my love and appreciation for Shakespeare's works (and I already loved them quite a bit). I can't wait to use this book with my children when they are older, and I think I may start memorizing the passages myself just for fun.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    Useful, basic, probably best for people who don't already obsess about Shakespeare. Emphasis on memorization. Somehow still uses sullied flesh instead of solid, but otherwise decent.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kendra

    This is an interesting book, but I had to return it to the library before I could finish it. If I am ever seeking to teach children Shakespeare, this is a book that I would want to use as a resource.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amy Layton

    So first thing's first, when he says that he wants to teach your children Shakespeare, it's primarily how to memorize passages.  Which isn't a bad thing, though I did come into this expecting more of a multi-disciplinary look that taught Shakespeare from stage to film to philosophy.  However, Ludwig takes on a lot more than I expected, too!  He explains iambic pentameter, tricks on how to memorize passages (something that would have been helpful when I accidentally took an acting class...), and So first thing's first, when he says that he wants to teach your children Shakespeare, it's primarily how to memorize passages.  Which isn't a bad thing, though I did come into this expecting more of a multi-disciplinary look that taught Shakespeare from stage to film to philosophy.  However, Ludwig takes on a lot more than I expected, too!  He explains iambic pentameter, tricks on how to memorize passages (something that would have been helpful when I accidentally took an acting class...), and how to understand the true inherent quality and beauty in Shakespeare's words.  He also offers a few history lessons so that we and our children can better understand the context from which he writes. His selections of passages and plays were largely appropriate, though I was hoping for some more gruesome scenes for older children...but his children are quite young, so what can I say!  With him, we learn passages from A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet, the Henrys, and Much Ado About Nothing.  We have comedy, history, and tragedy in one book.  And with that comes a lot of explaining. And he explains it all very well!  From his photographs to his font choices to the size of his typography, it's all very clearly laid out, and is certainly a product of his research, experience, and dedication.  If I had children, I'd definitely use this book to help me teach them Shakespeare! Review cross-listed here!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Marie

    4/5 🌟! This was part teach your children these passages from some of Shakespeares finest works, and part let me count the ways that these passages have stood the test of time and what they mean to humanity and therefore should mean to your children. As someone who has loved The Bard for many a year, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hold back from 5 🌟 only because I do not yet have kids and do not forsee rereading it for many years to come and thats only if I am so blessed with said kids. 4/5 🌟! This was part teach your children these passages from some of Shakespeare’s finest works, and part let me count the ways that these passages have stood the test of time and what they mean to humanity and therefore should mean to your children. As someone who has loved The Bard for many a year, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hold back from 5 🌟 only because I do not yet have kids and do not forsee rereading it for many years to come and that’s only if I am so blessed with said kids.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kristin C

    An easy to read, FUN, and practical guide to teaching even the littlest little to appreciate the work of the Bard. My 5 and 9 year old are quoting A Midsummer Night's Dream after two weeks! I'm shocked and delighted!

  22. 4 out of 5

    KC Jones

    He was the inspiration of my youth, the despair of my middle years, and the consolation of my old age.-Rossini (said of Mozart). My hope is that Shakespeare will be this for my children; another member included at our dinner table and throughout all our lives together. “He was the inspiration of my youth, the despair of my middle years, and the consolation of my old age.”-Rossini (said of Mozart). My hope is that Shakespeare will be this for my children; another member included at our dinner table and throughout all our lives together.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Casey

    So helpful! Ludwig's enthusiasm for Shakespeare is contagious and this book has made teaching/reading Shakespeare much less daunting for me. I will revisit this book in the future.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Albright

    [Note: This book was provided by Blogging For Books for free in exchange for an honest review.] It is clear from even a cursory look at this book that Ken Ludwig has a passion for drama. Ludwig is a multiple Tony Award winning dramatist and a fan of Shakespeare from his youth, and he shares with parents and teachers (the intended audience for this work) the same sort of tips to teach Shakespeare to children that he used with his own children. Although the book is somewhat lengthy (including its [Note: This book was provided by Blogging For Books for free in exchange for an honest review.] It is clear from even a cursory look at this book that Ken Ludwig has a passion for drama. Ludwig is a multiple Tony Award winning dramatist and a fan of Shakespeare from his youth, and he shares with parents and teachers (the intended audience for this work) the same sort of tips to teach Shakespeare to children that he used with his own children. Although the book is somewhat lengthy (including its appendices and an annotated bibliography that seeks to provide books and movies about Shakespeare for further reading, it comes out to around 350 pages), it is clearly written by someone who remains a bit of a child at heart and has an exuberant enthusiasm for drama in general and the wit and wisdom of Shakespeare in particular. For those who are bardophiles [lovers of Shakespeare's works] and wish to pass on that love to others, this book has a lot of helpful advice and tips. This book is full of intrigue. For one, it recommends a particular order to teaching Shakespeare’s plays, starting with plays like A Midsummer Night’s Dream when children are about the age of six or so, young enough to enjoy the repetition and old enough to be able to appreciate the theater and grasp the language (with questions about meaning). The book includes a companion website (howtoteachyourchildrenshakespeare.com) and is filled with all kinds of interesting tips on how to break down long speeches of prose and especially poetry from some of Shakespeare’s plays into an easily digestible form. There are also lots of photos from Shakespeare productions, including a photo from one interesting performance where David Tennant played Hamlet and Patrick Stewart played Claudius. As a whole the book is divided into three parts and 40 passages, the first part dealing with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, and one passage from Romeo & Juliet. The second part has passages from Macbeth, Henry IV Part 1, As You Like It, and Henry V. Part three closes with passages from Hamlet and The Tempest. Throughout the book as a whole, the author discusses the themes of love, death, the meaning of life, time, and loyalty to family, among other issues. These various passages are explained, words are defined, and lessons are taught with a great deal of energy and skill. Yet there is a great tension that this book and its author find itself in that is not necessarily openly acknowledged. For one, this book talks a lot about the place of Shakespeare within the canon of English literature (in language much like that used to discuss the Bible, which is referred to often in these pages) and the worth of knowing Shakespeare for its moral depth and elevated concepts and language. Yet at the same time the author delights in recommending R-rated movies and playing up the transgressive elements of Shakespeare’s work (he even recommends having boys do the whole cross-dressing bit from Shakespeare if they are up for it, something that can lead to ridicule if one does it around the wrong people). Of course, a similar tension exists between a focus on memorizing Shakespeare’s words and an appreciation for the ambiguity in his writing, as well as between the fact that Shakespeare’s work was time-bound within the late 16th century as well as redolent of more contemporary drama with its existential concerns, and the tension between our regard and respect for Shakespeare’s plays and the bowlderizing that was often done to his texts by later generations. These tensions enrich this work and make for a complicated and nuanced picture. Some of the tips that the author gives are very worthwhile to fans of Shakespeare of any age. For example, it is good to look up unfamiliar terms and useful to read the words aloud rather than just rely on reading them on the page. Making Shakespeare relevant by playing games like coming up with creative Shakespearean insults, or using Shakespeare’s epigrams in everyday circumstances, or compete to notice imagery in Shakespeare’s writings as well as elements like meter and internal rhyme are all suggested within these pages. Among the funniest epigrams that can be used by parents and children alike is Falstaff’s immortal line from Henry IV Part One: “Why, Hal, ’tis my vocation, Hal. ‘Tis no sin for a man to labor in his vocation.” (The author suggests this line should be repeated when one is caught doing something one ought not to be doing, which makes for some very humorous contexts.) Besides the tips, the author includes a lot of context about Shakespeare, theater, and publishing that ought to provide enough information for inquisitive young people who have a lot of questions. Parents and teachers of such children who wish to encourage and develop a love of the appropriate kind of drama will appreciate this book greatly.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    this has been so much fun and really enjoyable to read and talk about with my kids.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Knight

    Definitely worth buying!! It's like a curriculum that I'm using with my seven year old. We're going through the memory passages and plays that the book presents. For me, someone who knew next to nothing about Shakespeare at the outset, this book is a *must have* and has made it possible to teach Shakespeare to my son.... who, by the way, LOVES it! He had his nose in a Shakespeare book for 2 days straight, by his own choice :o)))

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    I had so much fun reading this book. If you always have loved the writing of Shakespeare, or, better yet, wanted to love it but just didnt get it, this is the book for you! How To Teach Your Children Shakespeare is by an acclaimed playwright who hopes to provide you with the tools to help you and your children make Shakespeare a part of your lives. He shows you how to make Shakespeare both informative and fun. He writes: "Shakespeare should not be an occasional visitor. He should be a permanent I had so much fun reading this book. If you always have loved the writing of Shakespeare, or, better yet, wanted to love it but just didn’t get it, this is the book for you! How To Teach Your Children Shakespeare is by an acclaimed playwright who hopes to provide you with the tools to help you and your children make Shakespeare a part of your lives. He shows you how to make Shakespeare both informative and fun. He writes: "Shakespeare should not be an occasional visitor. He should be a permanent houseguest, living in that spare room down the hall, ready to join you for a meal or an evening whenever you crave his company. Better yet, he should feel like a part of your family...” With passion and enthusiasm, he sets out to convince you how to do just that, with plenty of guidance. I don’t know how well this book would work on kids, but it certainly helped me to understand Shakespeare better than I ever did, and I studied Shakespeare extensively in college. He goes through many passages adding “translations,” as in this example: "I have of late [recently], but wherefore [why] I know not, lost all my mirth [cheerfulness]” If the speech might be particularly abstruse for modern audiences, he uses two columns, with Shakespeare’s words on the left, and a summary of their meaning on the right. He also explains the imagery and importance of the passages, and why they are considered so masterful. For example, in discussing Hamlet, he observes: "The Ghost fills Hamlet’s ear with the details of his own murder the way Claudius filled King Hamlet’s ear with poison. This paradox underscores an important question: Is the Ghost lying or telling the truth? Are his words reliable or poisonous? This is something that Hamlet will spend the next two acts of the play trying to find out.” I loved too how he demonstrates the way in which Shakespeare manipulated word length and alliteration to slow down or speed up delivery of lines for dramatic effect. He even provides ideas for entertaining ways to encourage your children to incorporate some of Shakespeare’s bot mots into your own lives. For example, to echo Falstaff from Henry IV, Part I: "Our daughter, Olivia, stays up past her bedtime and her mother catches her in bed with her computer. Mom Olivia, what do you think you’re doing? Olivia Why, Mom, ‘tis my vocation, Mom. ‘Tis no sin for a girl to labor in her vocation.’” As he explains at the outset, in answer to the question “Why Shakespeare?”: "...Shakespeare isn’t just one of the many great authors in the English language; Shakespeare is, indisputably, one of the two great bedrocks of Western civilization in English. (The other is the King James translation of the Bible.) Not only do Shakespeare’s plays themselves contain the finest writing of the past 450 years, but most of the best novels, plays, poetry, and films in the English language produced since Shakespeare’s death in 1616 - from Jane Austen to Charles Dickens, from Ulysses to The Godfather - are heavily influenced by Shakespeare’s stories, characters, language, and themes.” Evaluation: I truly enjoyed this book; it gave me so many new insights into the wonderful world of Shakespeare, and allowed me to enjoy his work in an entirely new way. Highly recommended even without any potential pupils besides yourself! Rating: 4.5/5

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sarah - All The Book Blog Names Are Taken

    Love, love, love this book. Read it in just a couple hours and I can't wait to start teaching E. She's way too young for the big passages - oh, and she can't read because she's not even three yet - but she loves to repeat and has an excellent memory, so she can surely start on some of the lines. This book is fantastic, full review to come. ++++++++++ http://allthebookblognamesaretaken.bl... www.facebook.com/AllTheBookBlogNamesA... www.twitter.com/SarahsBookNook Rating: 5 Stars Loved this book. Loved, Love, love, love this book. Read it in just a couple hours and I can't wait to start teaching E. She's way too young for the big passages - oh, and she can't read because she's not even three yet - but she loves to repeat and has an excellent memory, so she can surely start on some of the lines. This book is fantastic, full review to come. ++++++++++ http://allthebookblognamesaretaken.bl... www.facebook.com/AllTheBookBlogNamesA... www.twitter.com/SarahsBookNook 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!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Edy Gies

    Ken Ludwig most definitely loves Shakespeare and he clearly communicates that throuugh his writing. I would highly recommend for parents who homeschool or those who are looking to do some supplemental learning with their children. His techniques are excellent and his explanations are interesting and clearly expert. That said, I really don't see using his memorization techniques with my own son, but I will try to use some of it in my classroom. It is not possible in my classroom to spend as much Ken Ludwig most definitely loves Shakespeare and he clearly communicates that throuugh his writing. I would highly recommend for parents who homeschool or those who are looking to do some supplemental learning with their children. His techniques are excellent and his explanations are interesting and clearly expert. That said, I really don't see using his memorization techniques with my own son, but I will try to use some of it in my classroom. It is not possible in my classroom to spend as much time as it would require to do all that memorization, but I was challenged to spur my students toward memorizing large portions for competition or just to explore and enjoy the language. One issue that I had with the book is that Mr. Ludwig seems to assume that all children and adults can memorize the way his children can. I am sure that with dedicated time my son could learn some of these passages, but I also know that he really struggles with memorization. We just don't have the time between working on school work and concentrating hard on memorizing and understanding his Bible verses. I am glad that the author's children have been able to retain the information, but he speaks of both him and his wife loving Shakespeare and quoting him often. This probably has a great deal to do with the success his children had with memorization. I don't see this happening in my family. Memorization doesn't come easy to any of us and my husband is NOT going to start quoting Shakespeare anytime soon. I am glad I read it and I plan on using it as a teaching resource.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    Lots of fun. Mostly the book is set up as a guide on how to teach Shakespeare via rote memorization of passages and texts. But while that has the potential to be boring he frequently cites examples from his own children's education to show that at some point, memorization or not, Shakespeare's words take over and the young minds begin their questions: "What does tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow mean? Why does wherefore mean why and not where? Why does Shakespeare put Love and Death in the same Lots of fun. Mostly the book is set up as a guide on how to teach Shakespeare via rote memorization of passages and texts. But while that has the potential to be boring he frequently cites examples from his own children's education to show that at some point, memorization or not, Shakespeare's words take over and the young minds begin their questions: "What does tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow mean? Why does wherefore mean why and not where? Why does Shakespeare put Love and Death in the same play (Romeo and Juliet)?" Etc. Also are some great passages where his kids frequently throw their learned Shakespeare lines back at their fond and proud parents: "I think this haircut makes me look good. "Thou art not for all markets father." Very much a practical guide on how to accomplish this since Ludwig is a theater person himself and knows how actors 'get' lines. I very much enjoyed this book.

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