The idea of tackling Shakespeare in school has sometimes sent chills down both students’ and teachers’ spines, but the truth is that studying Shakespeare doesn’t have to be so daunting. His plays and sonnets are filled with themes that are relevant even today, are humorous, lyrical, and provide important historical content. Most importantly, Shakespeare knew how to tell a good story. Whether you are teaching or learning Shakespeare in a traditional classroom, in an online course, in high school, or college, there are resources below that will make teaching and learning about Shakespeare and fun and engaging experience.
These resources offer a wealth of information about Shakespeare and his works.
- Shakespeare Online. This site is an awesome resource with everything from analyses of eight of his plays, a glossary, plots, information on his sonnets, and much more.
- Folger Shakespeare Library Online Resources for Teachers. Find lesson plans and resources for teaching Shakespeare, sign up for a newsletter, find links to videos, and much more from this site that makes teaching Shakespeare easy.
- Shake Sphere. This guide offers everything from personal information about Shakespeare to plots of all his plays to a handy list of glossaries.
- Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet. This resource offers an extensive listing of online texts, PDF versions of originals, and links to a large assortment of Shakespeare resources.
- Triangulating Shakespeare. Set up by a college professor, this resource includes teaching materials, critical essays, and even student-acted movies of four of Shakespeare’s plays.
- Shakespeare in Education. Find a long list of links to projects, courses, and more all focusing on using Shakespeare in education.
- Shakespeare Resource Center. From the authorship debate to Elizabethan England to the Globe Theatre, find plenty of information about Shakespeare here.
- Shakespeare Field Trip. Take a virtual field trip that guides teachers and students to several sites on the Internet that help teach about Shakespeare, his works, and his life.
- Converse Shakespeare. This British site is designed for teachers and students studying Shakespeare and includes such tools as a virtual tour of the Globe Theatre, summaries of the plays, and more.
- Absolute Shakespeare. Get links to information about Shakespeare, his works, the authorship debate, and even a comprehensive listing of all films made based on Shakespeare’s plays.
- ShakespeareHelp.com. Click on one of the plays listed here to find a wealth of information on each such as YouTube videos, quizzes, lesson plans, and links to other resources.
Use these links to find full online texts, modern translations, searchable text, and more.
- No Fear Shakespeare. This resource from SparkNotes puts two pages side-by-side: one with Shakespeare’s language and one with modern language.
- Open Course Shakespeare. Not only can you read Shakespeare’s works here, you can use the concordance to learn about specific words, search the texts, and get statistics.
- The Oxford Shakespeare. Get complete texts of all Shakespeare’s work. The plays are broken down by acts and the text is easy to read.
- The Complete Works of Shakespeare. Get a simple, straightforward text of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets online with this resource.
- Everything Shakespeare Summaries. Find summaries of Shakespeare’s plays here.
- Shakespeare Navigators. Get a scene index and searchable text for some of the most popular Shakespeare plays.
- Shakespeare’s Sonnet of the Day. Visit this site or sign up to receive the sonnet of the day directly in your email.
- Shakespeare in Modern English. This site offers modern English translations side-by-side with the original text for Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, and The Tempest.
- Project Gutenberg Shakespeare. Probably one of the most complete listings of online texts, Project Gutenberg provides Shakespeare’s works in English as well as other languages.
- The Literature Network William Shakespeare. Find a biography of Shakespeare as well as links to summaries of all his plays and much of his poetry.
These articles take a closer look at specific topics relevant to Shakespeare’s work such as his use of the female character, words coined by Shakespeare, and the flowers and herbs mentioned in Shakespeare’s works.
- Types of Female Characters in Shakespeare. From the bawdy woman to the witty but unmarriable woman, find out what type of female characters Shakespeare typically used.
- Shakespeare’s Time. Learn about how the Renaissance shaped Shakespeare’s writing in this article.
- Holy Trinity Church. This historic church is where Shakespeare’s body rests. Learn about his connections to the church as well as speculation about a ring found there in the19th century.
- Bardolatry. This blog post includes quite a comprehensive listing of several Shakespeare articles and other resources that range from teaching young children to content of a more adult nature.
- Shakespeare’s Coined Words Now Common Currency. This article from National Geographic News talks about how words and phrases likely coined by Shakespeare have become an inseparable part of our common language.
- The Taming of the Shrew: Were Shakespeare’s Heroines "Liberated?" Take a peek into the world of women during Shakespeare’s time and see what this article has to say about the liberation of Shakespeare’s heroines.
- Ten Facts About William Shakespeare the Bard. Learn ten things about Shakespeare that you may not have known.
- A Character Study of Don John. The villain from Much Ado About Nothing is one of the most infamous of Shakespeare’s villains. Learn who this character is when you read this article.
- Shakespeare and Violence. Take a look at Shakespeare’s use of violence in his plays.
- Study flowers in Ophelia’s garland to learn folk beliefs, Shakespeare. Get an in-depth look at the meaning behind some of the flowers and herbs mentioned in Hamlet, as well as other Shakespeare plays.
Find out how much you know about Shakespeare with these quizzes.
- Know Your Shakespeare Quotations? Choose your difficulty level and see how well you know your Shakespeare quotations.
- ‘Macbeth’ Quiz. Find out how much you know about Macbeth.
- Phrase Origins Quiz. Match these phrases to the correct play to test your knowledge.
- The Hamlet Quizzes. Find two introductory quizzes and several more quizzes broken down by act.
- A Shakespeare Biography Quiz. See how much you know about the man himself with this quiz.
- Shakespeare Quiz. This multiple-choice quiz tests your knowledge on Shakespeare himself as well as on his works.
- The Globe Theatre Quiz. Test your knowledge of the Globe Theatre with these 14 questions.
Aids to Teaching and Studying Shakespeare
These links provide teaching tips, study guides, and more to make learning Shakespeare more approachable.
- How to Study Shakespeare. From eHow, this tutorial provides several helpful tips on how to study Shakespeare.
- Shakespeare 101: A Student Guide. The information here will start your Shakespearean studies off just right.
- Top Tips for Teaching Shakespeare. These three tips are essential when teaching Shakespeare.
- Web English Teacher William Shakespeare. Select any specific play or choose Sonnets to get background information as well as teaching tips to help you teach Shakespeare.
- In Search of Shakespeare Quick Tips. Find a good listing of tips for teaching Shakespeare to elementary students.
- The English Renaissance in Context. This site provides tutorials for students across several learning levels to better understand Shakespeare and his works.
- Tools for Studying Shakespeare and Contemporaries. While this page is a bit dated and many of the resource links are no longer valid, the exercises are available and a good resource for studying many of Shakespeare’s plays.
- ASL Shakespeare Project. This site provides information about Shakespeare as well as a detailed look at Twelfth Night, including scenes from the play–all in American Sign Language.
- Teaching Shakespeare to Low Level Readers. Learn how to teach Shakespeare to students with special reading needs with the information here.
- Teaching Shakespeare to High School Students. This video provides some helpful tips on how to present Shakespeare to high school students.
These teacher’s guides offer tips and suggestions for specific works or teaching Shakespeare in general.
- Teacher’s Guide to Studying Shakespeare. This guide offers advice and tips for teaching any Shakespeare drama to students.
- Much Ado About Something. Based around the documentary, Much Ado About Something, this guide leads teachers through ways of teaching about Shakespeare, his work, and the era.
- William Shakespeare. From The National Archives, this lesson allows students to see digital images of original documents and to study Shakespeare as a man of his era.
- First Shakespeare Lesson. Find a helpful way to get students accustomed to the rhythm of Shakespeare’s verse with this first lesson.
- Interactive Shakespeare Project. Find a teacher’s guide for Measure for Measure aimed at college level instruction, including exercises and essays on the play.
- Macbeth Assignment. This Australian teacher’s guide is a bit dated, but provides good ideas for a five-part assignment on Macbeth.
- Teaching Macbeth. Get lesson plans, teaching tools, and audio and video resources to help you teach Macbeth.
- A Guide to Teaching the Interpretation of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”. This guide from the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute is designed for high-school students.
- Speak What We Feel: An Introduction to King Lear. This is a college-level analysis of King Lear.
- Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet: ‘You Kiss by the Book’. This lesson plan provides in-depth analysis, activities, and more to facilitate teaching Romeo and Juliet to high school students.
- Showing vs. Telling: A Lesson Plan. This lesson shows how teachers can show three different film versions of Hamlet to demonstrate the fluidity of Shakespeare’s works and develop a deeper understanding of the meaning behind the text.
Audio and Video
Many believe Shakespeare was meant to be heard, not read. Check out these audio and video selections that can provide the opportunity for students to hear Shakespeare.
- William Shakespeare. These audio files feature excerpts from Much Ado About Nothing and Julius Caesar, as well as Sir John Gielgud reading some of Shakespeare’s sonnets.
- William Shakespeare’s Plays and Poems. Listen to eight of Shakespeare’s plays and four sonnets here.
- LibriVox Shakespeare. Find the Shakespeare work you want to hear available on LibriVox.
- Tales from Shakespeare. These retellings of Shakespeare’s works by Charles and Mary Lamb were meant to introduce the youngest learners to Shakespeare, but these audio files provide a gentle introduction to Shakespeare for any age.
- Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare. Beloved children’s author E Nesbit wrote Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare as a way for children and adults alike to understand the works of Shakespeare. Find audio files of her book here.
- Speak the Speech. Find audio recordings of full-cast productions of some of the most popular Shakespeare plays.
- Shakespeare Animated Tales. These videos of half-hour productions by the BBC are collected here as well as a link to buy the entire collection.
- Shakescenes. Find video clips from several plays that range from just under four minutes to almost 20 minutes.
- BardBox. This blog compiles original videos of Shakespeare’s plays from around the Internet.
Glossaries, Dictionaries, and More
Don’t let the English of Shakespeare’s time slow you down. Use these glossaries, dictionaries, and translators instead.
- How to Understand Shakespeare Words. This site offers translations of some of the most common Shakespearean words.
- Shakespeare Dictionary. This dictionary not only provides definitions for words that are no longer used or have changed in meaning, but it also offers insight into the symbolism of words that modern readers might not recognize.
- Common Phrases Coined by Shakespeare. Find out what common phrases were probably first used by Shakespeare.
- William Shakespeare Quotes. Get pages of some of the most popular Shakespeare quotes here.
- Shakespeare in quarto Glossary. This glossary defines terms specific to bookmaking in the time of Shakespeare.
- Absolute Shakespeare Glossary. This comprehensive glossary defines the words Shakespeare used that are no longer in common usage.
- Encyclopaedia Britannica’s Guide to Shakespeare Glossary. Find a handful of terms used in Shakespeare’s works on this page.
Other Fun Stuff
From creating a Shakespearean feast to designing Elizabethan costumes to Scooby Doo in Hamlet, these links will bring plenty of fun to learning about Shakespeare.
- Shakespearean Feast. Read this to learn how to hold an almost-authentic Shakespearean feast.
- Shakespearean Insulter. This fun insult generator comes up with actual insults from Shakespeare’s work, including the name of the work from which each is taken. Students can have fun decoding insults such as "You, minion, are too saucy."
- Shakespeare and Food. Learn about the food mentioned in Shakespeare’s works with this fun tool that highlights each food within the passages.
- The Last Will and Testament of William Shakspere. Complete with original spelling, this is a transcript of Shakespeare’s will.
- Images of Shakespeare’s Time. These black and white images show the house where Shakespeare was born, the writing on his tombstone, and more.
- Shakespeare Illustrated. Find links to an amazing collection of art that was inspired by Shakespeare’s work.
- The Virtual Globe. Take a virtual field trip to the Globe Theatre of Shakespeare’s time at this interactive site.
- Shakespeare: Subject to Change. This interactive project has garnered several awards and provides students an opportunity to explore how Shakespeare’s work has evolved as they went from his writing, to the stage, and the screen.
- Elizabethan Costume Page. Learn all you could ever want to know about Elizabethan dress on this website that even includes some patterns to make your own.
- Lost quarto of Hamlet. This silly alternate ending to Hamlet will be a hit with students who can appreciate Scooby Doo or would like to see a more cheerful ending to the play.
- Write Like Shakespeare. Type in a word and hit "Continue" to start creating something that Shakespeare might have written.
- Poetry Machine. This fun tool works like the magnetic poetry tiles. Select how many Shakespearean words you want, then receive that many random tiles that you can arrange however you like to create your own Shakespearean poetry.
Shakespeare for Homeschoolers
These resources are specifically geared to homeschoolers learning about Shakespeare.
- A Charlotte Mason Minute: Shakespeare. This homeschooling mom discusses her approach to teaching Shakespeare to younger children.
- To Shakespeare…. This article examines whether to teach Shakespeare or not and incorporates the beliefs of Charlotte Mason on this topic.
- Ambleside Online Shakespeare Rotation. Get a one year rotation for teaching Shakespeare, including helpful links.
- Why Shakespeare for Christian Students?. Reverend Ralph Allan Smith writes about why Shakespeare is an important element of the Christian student’s education, specifically pointing to the moral and ethical lessons he teaches in his works.
- What’s So Great About Shakespeare?. A homeschooling mom talks about many important reasons she teaches Shakespeare to her children.
- Our Shakespeare Unit. This mom describes how she teaches Shakespeare to her five children who cover a wide age range.
- The Big Bad Bard: Studying Shakespeare. Listen or read the transcript from five talks about using Shakespeare in your homeschool curriculum.
- All The World’s A Stage: Teaching Shakespeare Through Performance. Learn about the value of performing Shakespeare as a learning tool.
- Shakespeare and Creative Dramatics at Home. This article also discusses the value of performance with an emphasis on homeschool groups creating and performing Shakespearean dramas.