How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig

How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken LudwigHow to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig
Published by Crown on June 11, 2013
Genres: Education, Language Arts & Disciplines
Pages: 368
Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Blogging for Books for review consideration.
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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 DreamTwelfth 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.


Thank you, Ken Ludwig, for writing How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare.

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.

I didn’t even have to warm up to this! Ludwig 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.

So tell me, how do you feel about Shakespeare? Do you enjoy reading his works?