Let’s Talk About… Shakespeare

Published 11:53 am Saturday, February 1, 2014

by Rachel Hancock

I saw a commercial the other day where a father was putting his child in bed while reading her Shakespeare. Although the commercial had nothing to do with Shakespeare, I thought that the idea of just reading the plays as a bedtime story was wonderful. You know that once your children get to high school they will have to read some Shakespeare and soliloquies.

For some of my classmates, it was their first-time ever even reading these words. I myself have grown up with Mr. Shakespeare, and I think the plays are wonderful. Yes, they can be hard to read, but the poetry and the characters and the history behind every copy of these plays are amazing! I think that every child should either read to try to read these plays. Last year, for the first time, I saw “Two Gentlemen of Verona.” I really liked the play because there were no long speeches that lasted for a whole 20 minutes, and no one died. But I also liked it because it showed how fickle the heart can be and how love can win in the end. That play is one that could be good for children or for you.

If your child needs some movement when reading, you can always get them to act out different parts that the both of you have read. As an example, you are read a particular fight scene while your child can pretend to be fighting their stuff animals and repeating his character’s line.

Or if you don’t like Shakespeare, you could try a different play or book. Classical books are what open a person’s mind than a more recent book. Now don’t get me wrong, I like a newly printed book as much as the next person who likes to read. But with a classic story, you get another form of storytelling. One that is just as dark as it is beautiful. I recently read “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” by Victor Hugo. I found that is one that I will never forget. I probably would never read it again, but it stays with you. Ever since I’ve wanted to read other classic stories, and it has been very intersecting. The classic stories are not easy to read. “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” took about a month to read, and even that was when I skipped a few pages (mainly because of all the detail and backgrounds of characters that didn’t really apply to the actual story).

If you don’t think you can get through it, then just try another book. Not every classic book is going to be as easy as the last; you just have to find the one that you and your child will enjoy. Books bring more than just stories, they bring imagination, vocabulary and new ideas about the world we live in. Just because your child says he or she doesn’t like to read, doesn’t mean you should give up trying to read them a book.

There are so many ways to tell a story. My mother is a storyteller, and I have grown up listening to her and getting in front of others and telling them old folktales and moral stories. I see the children’s eyes light up with wonder, and afterwards they are talking a mile a minute about what new ideas they have learn, all because someone told them a story.

RACHEL HANCOCK lives in Sedley and is a junior at Southampton High School.