The Homeschooler's Ultimate Resource for Introducing Kids to Shakespeare

When I first began learning about Charlotte Mason's methods and began using them in our homeschool, I wanted to add in some Shakespeare study to our school time. I wasn't quite sure how to do that, though. I mean, have you read or seen any of the plays? They aren't exactly kid friendly.


I began researching to come up with some resources that were appropriate for kids and that would help me introduce the kids to the Bard. Thanks to the wealth of resources online and some great books I came across, I've been able to bring Shakespeare and his works into our homeschool. I'm sharing those resources here. And I hope that these resources will help you as you introduce your children to Shakespeare as well.

Learn About Shakespeare for Kids: Homeschoolers


Books


How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig- This is an excellent guide to helping your kids memorize passages from Shakespeare, while learning more about the plays and their background. If you aren't very literate when it comes to Shakespeare, this is a good way to start.

Tales from Shakespeare and More Tales from Shakespeare by Marcia Williams- The author uses a comic book style that will appeal to middle grade readers to introduce kids to fourteen of Shakespeare's plays.

Shakespeare's Stories for Young Readers by E. Nesbit- This classic book is a retelling of twelve of Shakespeare's plays in story style for young children. It's a good way to introduce the plays in story form.

William Shakespeare and the Globe by Aliki- The popular children's picture book author gives a detailed introduction to Shakespeare, his life and times, his plays, and the Globe Theater where many of his plays were produced.

Bard of Avon: The Story of William Shakespeare by Diane Stanley and Peter Vennema- This picture book for older elementary aged kids is a good biography of Shakespeare.

Shakespeare for Kids: His Life and Times (21 Activities Series) by Colleen Aagesen and Margie Blumberg- This book contains hands-on activities for upper elementary aged kids. From games to crafts to cooking and more, the activities will help kids learn about Shakespeare's life and historical time period.

Who Was William Shakespeare? by Celeste Mannis- The Who Was series are popular and easy to read biographies intended for middle grade kids. In this edition, kids can learn about Shakespeare and his life and times.

A Shakespearean Theater by Jacqueline Morley- This beautiful picture book for older kids has detailed illustrations of the Globe Theater as well as a description of life in Elizabethan London and an introduction to Shakespeare and his plays.

Will's Words: How Shakespeare Changed the Way You Talk by Jane Sutcliffe- The author of this book introduces kids to Shakespeare and the Globe Theater using the bard's own words. As she tells kids about the famous playwright and his play, she uses phrases that Shakespeare brought into common use.

The Shakespeare Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained) from DK- Like other awesome DK reference book, this one is filled with great photography, illustrations, timelines, graphs, and other visuals and brings Shakespeare's life and plays to kids in an easy to understand way.

Bruce Coville has some beautiful picture book adaptations of some of Shakespeare's plays.

The No Fear Shakespeare books have been some of our favorite for reading the plays. They have the original language from Shakespeare on one side of the page with modern English on the other.

Great Scenes from Shakespeare's Plays (Dover Classic Stories Coloring Book) by John Green and Paul Negri is a coloring book with scenes from Shakespeare's plays. Giving kids a page to color as they listen often works very well if you're reading aloud the play as a story or in play form.

The Playing with Plays books by Brendan P. Kelso and Khara C. Oliver are humorously adapted play scripts for kids. Some of the original language of the plays has been incorporated, but the plays- even the tragedies- have much more melodrama and humor than the originals.

Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb- These are stories based on many of Shakespeare's plays- another good resource for introducing young kids to the plays before they're old enough to actually understand them in play version.

You Wouldn't Want to Be a Shakespearean Actor! Some Roles You Wouldn't Want to Play by Jacqueline Morley- The You Wouldn't Want to Be...books cover historical topics in a humorous manner. This one's all about theater in Shakespeare's time.

'Kids' Books About Shakespeare

Websites


The Folger Shakespeare Library is an excellent resource for all things Shakespeare. There is information about his life, information about Elizabethan England, and even links to read all of his original works online. They also has a great Shakespeare for Kids section with some fun facts about Shakespeare, his life and times, a game that has kids searching the Folger Shakespeare Library site for answers, a collection of Shakespeare's quotes, and some fun word games.

Shakespeare's Globe is the website for the Globe Theater. But even if you can't go visit the site in person, you can check out the Globe Education section. There are all kinds of education resources including lesson plans for Shakespeare and his plays, printables, and a games section for young kids.

The Teaching English site from the British Council has a huge variety of lesson plans for Shakespeare in general and a good selection of the plays.

The Shakespeare Online site has a host of articles all about Shakespeare as well as some of the plays. There are also some fun components like a trivia question for the day and quote for the day.

The Shake Sphere site is an awesome resource. It has study guides for all of the plays as well as some of Shakespeare's other writings. It also has information about Shakespeare's life, his writing, the Globe Theater, and the time period in which Shakespeare lived and wrote.

Absolute Shakespeare is another all-encompassing resource. It has online versions on all of the plays, as well as Shakespeare's other writings. It has summaries of all the plays. There is information about Shakespeare himself, trivia, quizzes, and more.

Ambleside Online has a schedule for teaching Shakespeare's plays in a rotation throughout your school years.

All About Shakespeare


This short video from The British Council teaches kids about the life of Shakespeare. There's also a printable copy and a worksheet to go along with the video.

Kids can learn about Shakespeare and play some interactive games at the BBC Primary History site.

The SchoolRun has an awesome page for William Shakespeare. It's got facts, a timeline, a video, and more.

You can find a William Shakespeare biography page on Ducksters.

This is a cute and short video biography of Shakespeare.

Is Your Shakespeare Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth is a fun, interactive quiz to test how well you know the Bard.

This PowerPoint presentation on SlideShare is all about the life of William Shakespeare.

This WebQuest will help kids learn about Shakespeare's life.

Kids can learn about the Bard with this cool infographic.

Learn about the debate over whether or not Shakespeare really wrote his plays in this TedEd video.

All About the Plays


This video is a funny musical puppet version of Romeo and Juliet.

The British Council has short cartoon versions of some of Shakespeare's plays.

Cummings Study Guide has a page of information about the Globe Theater as well as some of Shakespeare's plays. And if you hover over Shakespeare in the menu of this site, you can find detailed study guide pages for many of the plays.

This site has two interactive quizzes all about the Globe Theater.

This is an interactive quiz on the opening lines of some of Shakespeare's plays.

CliffsNotes has a collection of articles and video for a variety of Shakespeare's plays here.

This is a funny, comic-strip style stick figure adaptation of Hamlet.

Kids can learn more about Hamlet from this WebQuest.

This WebQuest will walk kids through Macbeth.

Another WebQuest is all about Much Ado About Nothing.

This is a great interactive version of Romeo and Juliet.

This WebQuest is all about Romeo and Juliet.

Kids can learn about Romeo and Juliet with this DK summary video.

The Plays: Video and Audio Versions


A Midsummer's Night's Dream 1968 version on YouTube

Animated version Hamlet on YouTube

Macbeth 1978 version on YouTube

Much Ado About Nothing- a college arts department performance on YouTube

Romeo and Juliet 1976 version on YouTube (This is part one, and you can find part two in the sidebar.)

You can listen to the audio version of Shakespeare's plays and sonnets for free on Librivox.

Listen to each of the stories in Charles and Mary Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare for free on LibriVox.

At Speak the Speech you can find audio recordings of readings and clips from Shakespeare's plays, as well as recordings of some full play performances.

BardBox collects and compiles any videos related to Shakespeare's plays.

Higher Up and Further In has a list of family-friendly Shakespeare film adaptations.

If you are an Amazon Prime member(Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial), there are a number of film adaptations of Shakespeare's plays to watch for free.

Learn About Shakespeare for Kids: Homeschoolers

Unit Studies


Kid Minds has a Shakespeare unit study for young kids that includes, science, history, math, art and language arts.

Simply Convivial has some great links and printables for learning about Shakespeare and reading his plays.

Music in Our Homeschool has a great online 10-week Introduction to Shakespeare course for 7th-12th grades.

These instructions for a full Shakespearean feast would be great as a finish to a unit study about Shakespeare.

Hands of a Child has a lapbook study for grades 7 and up all about William Shakespeare.

And A Journey Through Learning has a Shakespeare lapbook and study guide for grades 4-8.

Printables


Teach Beside Me has free printable memorization cards that go with Ken Ludwig's book- listed above.

Use the free printables here to print and construct your own Globe Theater.

This site has free printable coloring pages for A Midsummer's Night's Dream as well as paper templates to make puppets of the characters. There's a very nice cover page included as well, so kids could make their own journal/coloring book for the play.

Peace, Good Tickle Brain has a simple printable game board based on Shakespeare's life.

Teachit English has a free printable Research the Globe Theater page. (You do have to login with a free account.)

This site is a printable study guide and activities for Romeo and Juliet.
I hope that you're inspired and motivated to use some of these great resources to bring the bard into your homeschool.

What's your favorite Shakespearian play?


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