Schooling in Pajamas

Midsummer Night’s Dream

Shakespeare is introduced to children early in the curriculum of Ambleside Online. This is one aspect that has drawn us to Ambleside Online time and again. I did not get to Shakespeare with my older two but I knew I wanted to do Shakespeare with my youngest. I have Tales from Shakespeare by Mary Lamb as a free Kindle book but wasn’t quite sure if that was the way I wanted to go at first. While browsing at my local library, I discovered several adaptions by Bruce Coville. The plays are written into story form in modern language and have wonderful color illustrations.  I chose to use Coville’s version of Midsummer Night’s Dream as our first intro to Shakespeare.


William Shakespeare’s a Midsummer Night’s Dream


This a great way to introduce Shakespeare. Though I love the language of the original plays, this modern language story form is good. D loved the illustrations which brought the story to life for him. There are pages where the text fills the page and others were there is text only the bottom half of the page due to an illustration. Illustrations are full page for most and some are half a page with the story continued on the same page. The words are easy to understand with D being able to read himself. Of course, Shakespeare doesn’t include names that are easy to pronounce. I enjoyed reading it to D. It is easy to read through this quickly but we slowed it down considerably making it last for several months. Another feature of the book that we liked was the color illustration at the end of the book which featured portraits of the characters. I photocopied the two pages then cut the eight images apart. I then glued them onto a paper allowing them to be folded up then we wrote under each person what happened to them during the play. Next time, if we use Coville again, I would probably copy them onto heavy card stock, cut them out, and write on the back. Doing this would allow them to become like a trading card and we could use them as review in an easier way.

Overall, I am pleased we choose to use Coville’s version. I’m ready to share our next Shakespeare adventure using our Lamb’s version but will kept the Coville retelling in mind in case we get bogged down and have trouble.

Here are some activities to use while doing a Shakespeare play (or retelling):

*Make Shakespeare puppets- This can be done by drawing on popsicle sticks or searching the web for images then printing out and gluing onto the sticks.

*Finger puppets- use paper to draw characters as you come to them then cut out leaving enough paper to wrap around and tape which forms the pocket for your finger.

*Cartoon- keep a running cartoon strip as major events happen in the play.

*Roll-up Mural- using the drawing paper that comes in a roll. Roll it out and draw the play as you read. It can be rolled up as needed or hung on the wall vertically then add as you read.

*Act it out- Each person can be a character or two then act out what you’ve read or do a retelling of it after finishing the play.

*Video- Find a video of the play and watch it.

You may also want to begin your Shakespeare study by learning about Shakespeare himself. Learn about the language Shakespeare used. Be creative!

Thanks for stopping by. Comment and share how you have done Midsummer Night’s Dream  or Shakespeare activities you had done to make it more engaging and fun.


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