OUT OF THE BEST BOOKS
Shakespeare can be daunting! We recommend teaching Shakespeare in a way that includes the following:
Read biographies of Shakespeare (picture books are excellent for this!)
Read picture-book versions of his plays before you tackle the “real thing.”
Remember, Shakespeare plays are not meant to be read, they’re meant to be WATCHED. Attend a live play or rent a movie of any play that you study together. It is fun to watch or attend several different versions. Your library or Youtube will both have several options.
Memorize part of every play you study. You can choose short pieces like “But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.” or longer speeches or poems, like the song of the Witches from Macbeth (“Double, double toil and trouble…”).
When you finally read the play: make puppets, peg dolls or costumes to help your kids (and you) keep track of different characters. Just read one act every day.
If this is your first Shakespeare play, we recommend beginning with A Midsummer Night's Dream.
PLAYS AND POEMS
Poetry for Kids: William Shakespeare
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Bruce Coville has illustrated versions of many Shakespeare plays. They are very well done and we recommend all of them.
Romeo and Juliet
Cambridge School Shakespeare
Cambridge has published full versions of each play specifically for students. Includes activities, information, photos and illustrations. When you read the "real thing," make sure you have a copy of the Cambridge School Shakespeare to read from.
Usborne Complete Shakespeare (Illustrated Stories)
Be sure to get the Complete Shakespeare. Usborne has another illustrated Shakespeare stories, but it only includes a few plays. We love this version, which includes every play- even the less well-known ones.
Tales from Shakespeare
This is a very fun comic-book style compilation of some of Shakespeare's plays. Older kids will enjoy reading these on their own.
Bard of Avon: The Story of William Shakespeare
Our favorite Shakespeare biography for elementary-aged kids.
William Shakespeare and the Globe
An excellent picture-book biography that is a bit more complex than the Bard of Avon. Wonderful for older-elementary, middle schoolers or even teens and adults.
A fun supplement to any of the other biographies.
Shakespeare: the World as a Stage
An excellent book for adults or teenagers who want to know more about Shakespeare.
MISC SHAKESPEARE RESOURCES
King of Shadows
The Shakespeare Stealer
How to Teach your Children Shakespeare