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How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare
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How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  753 ratings  ·  145 reviews
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 T
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published June 11th 2013 by Crown (first published June 1st 2013)
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4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  753 ratings  ·  145 reviews

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Manuel Antão
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
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 le
Apr 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 great ...more
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
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.
Jun 24, 2013 rated it really liked it

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, introducin
Jun 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 he
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
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 hav ...more
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...
Apr 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
"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.
Apr 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
not just children-smile
Easily the best book we did "all together" in 2014-2015 school year. I wish there were a sequel.
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2016, 2016-tbr
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 s ...more
Abby Ophus
Sep 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: home-school
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 ...more
Sep 18, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Kristin C
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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!
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-2017-list
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.
Nathan Albright
Jun 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
[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 a
Jul 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 h
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.


Rating: 5 Stars

Loved this book. Loved,
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it
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.
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 ...more
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
Ultimately I think this is probably a little bit more intense than I want to be about teaching my son to memorize Shakespeare, but it has great tips on how to work on memorization that I can see us using for important texts – Shakespeare, yes, but also poems and speeches and the Bible. I feel like I have an adequate knowledge of Shakespeare, but there are some big plays that I have never read, and Ludwig explains the plots and the importance of some famous speeches with great enthusiasm and pass ...more
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm not a great Shakespeare fan and this book hasn't changed that but it has helped me understand more about Shakespeare's plays and how to make them accessible to my children.
The main premise of the book is to teach the children short passages from the plays so that something is familiar to them. Along with the passage, the child needs to understand the meaning of the passage and the play. Ludwig uses passages from some of the most well known plays and goes over their background.
At the end of
Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: homeschooling
Wow. This really impressive volume urges us to introduce Shakespeare to our children by memorizing key passages. This would make an IDEAL companion to a Charlotte Mason-style Shakespeare reading program for children--choose a child-friendly play, read, discuss, and memorize a passage. Ludwig has an absolutely contagious love for Shakespeare and a firm belief that our children can learn and enjoy the Bard from a young age. Delightful. One caveat--not sure the chapters on Falstaff--and especially ...more
Anna Wassenaar
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
Oh, so much fun, but alas, I am not an actor. This would require more dedication to Shakespeare than I have.
Jun 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
So much fun, for all of us!
Ben Thurley
Jan 25, 2018 rated it liked it
It's not a bad book, and I do love me some Shakespeare, but it did feel a bit OTT with a cover endorsement by Sir Derek Jacobi CBE, introduction by John Lithgow, coverslip exhortation to the prospective reader that "Nothing gives your child a head start in life like knowing the works of Shakespeare!!!... It's just not all that.

In fact, it's pretty easy to summarise Ludwig's teaching method in far fewer than the 300-odd pages he stretches it out to:

1) Help your kids memorise and recite interestin
Lauren Brownfield
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ken Ludwig share his love of Shakespeare with his children and obviously had a great time doing it. He days the purpose is "to demystify Shakespeare" and he does just that. For parents or teachers who are intimidated by Shakespeare, but want to give it a go, this is an excellent place to start. Ludwig demonstrated how to memorize passages of Shakespeare easily (methods that would transfer to passages from other authors), explains without dumbing down, and often quotes fellows Shakespeareans (and ...more
Selah Pike
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a bit over my kids' heads (they're 9 and 12), and we didn't memorize many of the passages, because that's not what I wanted to do. I wanted to build an appreciation for Shakespeare and a familiarity with his work. This book, along with the Shakespeare stories by E. Nesbit, David Timson, and Charles and Mary Lamb, were a great starting point. We will continue to read and study Shakespeare for many years to come! I loved Mr. Ludwig's suggestions for having kids act out the various scenes!
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
For a while now, I've been wanting to learn about Shakespeare's works, but hesitant to begin. This book was the perfect introduction to some of his plays and gave step-by-step instructions for how to memorize them. After reading this book, I can better comprehend what Shakespeare's phrases are saying, recite a few stanzas, and understand just how gifted a playwright William Shakespeare really was. Although this book is specifically for children, How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare is a great ...more
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KEN LUDWIG is an internationally-acclaimed playwright whose work has been performed in more than 30 countries in over 20 languages. He has had 6 shows on Broadway and 6 in the West End. He has won two Laurence Olivier Awards, two Helen Hayes Awards, the Edgar Award, the SETC Distinguished Career Award, the Edwin Forrest Award for Services to the Theatre and he is a McCarter/Sallie B. Goodman Fello ...more
“Students were expected to learn hundreds of lines from the Greek and Roman classics, then, later, from poetry in their native tongues. This tradition has faded from our lives, and something powerful has been lost.” 1 likes
“To know some Shakespeare gives you a head start in life.” 0 likes
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