My daughter loves reading and actually enjoys Shakespeare. She has read a number of his works (in a slightly condensed version) and thought they were amazing. And I must admit I also enjoyed Shakespeare at school but when it came to working through the work, slowly and carefully, making sure we picked up on the different themes I felt like I needed a bit of extra guidance. (I like feeling like I have covered topics thoroughly.)
So I was thrilled when we discovered this series – RSC School Shakespeare.
This series has been created in partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company and their contribution really brings the play to life.
It is Shakespeare’s words (his proper words not a condensed version) combined with lots of extras. Each double page consist of 1 page of actual play text and then 1 page of “extras”.
The extras include performance photographs (brilliant idea to include these images of the actors in costume in the various scenes), suggested activities, glossary and sometimes things like – “did you know” or “at the time”.
Firstly I LOVE that every page of text comes with its own mini glossary – LOVE this. I think every version of Shakespeare for school aged kids should have these mini glossaries because the fact that it is right there on that page means the kids automatically look the words up so they understand what they are reading.
Then the suggested activities – they just make you stop, breathe, think about what you have read, act it out, imagine, talk – just brilliant. And yes it does slow it down. But really if you are studying a Shakespeare work for the first time (well for the first few times) you actually need to take it slow so that you can not only understand but appreciate the characters and the themes that are woven in.
At the end of each Act there is an extra double page of activities. And at the end of the book they have included an extra “William Shakespeare and his World” section – which are facts about life in Shakespeare’s time. An absolute must read for anyone reading Shakespeare because understanding the time, the traditions and environment is really fundamental to understanding the plays.
I think this is an excellent resource perfect for use when you want to work through any one of his works.
As for my daughter she says it is really helpful if you are wanting to read Shakespeare independently. She found the glossary on each page very useful and she loved reading the activity ideas and had a go at acting out a few of the scenes. She has already requested that I buy her this version for her next Shakespeare play – she is just trying to decide between Much Ado About Nothing and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (and I agree with her we will keep buying these versions of Shakespeare’s works for the kids to read and use).
You can buy the RSC Shakespeare books directly from the Oxford University Press site or from Amazon – RSC School Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet
Admin – I do include Affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link and go on to purchase that product, I will be paid a very small commission, however your cost will remain the same. I only include affiliate links for products that we use and love.