How to Get Kids to Read Shakespeare!
Mention the name “Shakespeare” to a bunch of middle schoolers and you’ll get a variety of reactions. Groans are sure to be included. How do you get students to move past the idea that Shakespeare is boring so they can open up to the idea of discovering the wealth of pure entertainment in his plays?
This is exactly the problem we tackle in our book, Shakespeare: Investigate the Bard’s Influence on Today’s World, which delves into the movies, books, and music that were inspired by Shakespeare’s plays.
For example, have you seen the 2013 zombie flick, Warm Bodies? At a basic level, this movie is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, only the producers added zombie characters, a post-apocalyptic world, and a plenty of gun fights. If there was ever a way to get 13-year-olds interesting in Shakespeare, it’s this movie.
Or how about Taylor Swift? Her pop hit “Love Story” is another work based on Romeo and Juliet. Andrew Robert MacFarlane Nielsen, or MC Lars to his fans, is another musical artist who took inspiration from Shakespeare. His song “Hey There Ophelia” follows the story of Hamlet and his doomed relationship with Ophelia.
To find more connections between Shakespeare and teenagers, check out this excerpt from the book.
And, because we know most kids are sniffling and coughing their way through February, check out this activity about different cures for illness during Elizabethan times!