I don’t know about you, but Shakespeare was not my favorite topic in high school. While I loved English and writing, I always felt so bogged down by the language in Shakespeare. For this reason I put off covering Shakespeare for a long time with my oldest child. Then I began to find awesome resources for introducing Shakespeare earlier in the academic spectrum than high school.
I fully believe that introducing Shakespeare is a case where the earlier, the better applies. Luckily for us there are tons of ways, and many resources to help us do that!
Today I would like to introduce you to Shakespeare’s Storybook ~ Folk Tales that Inspired the Bard by Patrick Ryan & James Mayhew.
Did you know that Shakespeare didn’t just create all his plays right from his head? I didn’t! Shakespeare’s Storybook is a book of folk tales from places like India, Greece, and Peru that were the inspiration for many of Shakespeare’s plays.
What is included in Shakespeare’s Storybook:
- You can purchase a version that is just the written word, or there is also a version with an audio CD.
- There are seven folk tales which are specifically connected to a Shakespearean play.
- The author first explains the connection between the folk tale and the corresponding play and then each folk tale is told.
- While this book is listed for age nine (4th grade) and up, you can use it at any age. I have children in elementary, middle, and high school. We all benefited from and learned from this book and the conversations and learning that came along with it.
How we use it and we like about Shakespeare’s Storybook:
- We used this as a fun way to introduce and look at Shakespeare. It was interesting to learn where many of his plays came from.
- Having the audio version allowed us to listen on the go! It would also offer the opportunity of a break from reading for mom, and an opportunity for younger kids to listen to the audio and follow along in the book.
- Since each folk tale is linked to one of Shakespeare’s plays, we took the opportunity to look at the corresponding plays for each of the folk tales. Using other simplified Shakespeare Resources to begin introducing the plays to our children.
Shakespeare’s Storybook is a fun and interesting way to begin Shakespeare with younger children. I firmly believe that if you introduce Shakespeare at a young age, with simpler and more engaging resources, then the full plays will be much easier to understand, and possibly more enjoyable for high school students.
Homeschooling for 10 years now, Heidi has children at each stage (elementary, middle and high school). At Starts At Eight you can find her writing and offering resources for middle school, high school, and many unit studies to span the ages.