“Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.”

-William Shakespeare

william-shakespeare-portrait12{This post may contain affiliate links of items that I have used and enjoyed. Thank you for your support of this blog and our family by purchasing through our links.}

Shakespeare is notably the most renowned English author in history and so many of our sayings today come from Shakespeare.  Isn’t it just logical, then, to introduce our children to such brilliance? You might think, “I never learned any of Shakespeare’s plays before highschool, so why do I need to share Shakespeare’s plays with my 6 year-old?” As I stated in my introduction, the earlier we expose our children to beautiful language through great literature, the better writers and thinkers they become. Susan Wise Bauer recommends in her classic, The Well-Trained Mind, that elementary age children read retellings of literary classics so that later, when they are given the originals full of more flowery sentence structures, they will already know the premise and be familiar with the characters.  The same holds true for Shakespeare.  Read your children the retellings so they may store away the characters and plots for later.

However, don’t stay away from the real thing either.  Memorize chunks of Shakespeare.  I got How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare as a late Christmas present from my husband and, so far, I love how Ken Ludwig explains the chunks he has deemed important to memorize.  Whether or not his choices are indeed the most important is redundant.  I’d like to assert that any Shakespeare is good to memorize.  The thing is that he takes the passage he wants you to memorize and analyzes it, helps you understand the vocabulary, and leads you through every little bit.  See, I never grasped Shakespeare in highschool and I have pretty much cowered in a corner hiding from his works ever since, so I need something well spelled out.  I need something like this as I start to introduce my kids to Shakespeare. And you know, it’s much easier to listen to Shakespeare plays being read, then to try to read them yourself, especially at first. So we listen to those chunks we are memorizing here at the book’s website.

So grab a retelling and start reading Shakespeare to your kids!

Shakespeare Resources

Free Shakespeare Retellings: Tales from Shakespeare or the audio version, and Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare (or its audio version)

Or purchase them if you prefer physical books: Tales from Shakespeare (kindle edition)
or  Beautiful Stories From Shakespeare (free for kindle at the time of writing)

Jim Weiss’ Shakespeare for Children – make sure you listen to samples at his website to make sure you like it before puchasing.  Not everyone likes his reading style.

Ordo Amoris has shared 10 possible passages for memorization.

Shakespeare for the baby crowd?


Do you think children should be read Shakespeare early?  Leave your thoughts in the comments.

This is Day 4 of Five Days of Sharing Poetry with your Kids. Read the intro, Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 if you haven’t already.

Written by Julie Cerdas
I'm a stay-at-home Catholic mom who loves playing with and teaching my two children.