Home Education No Fear Shakespeare: Step Up Your Child’s Knowledge on Classic Literature

No Fear Shakespeare: Step Up Your Child’s Knowledge on Classic Literature

Shakespeare was a genius wordsmith whose creative use of language, innovative characters and plots delighted generations of readers and impacted literature and the English language. One of the most interesting things about Shakespeare’s works is that each contains a secret reading list of myths, parables and histories, and other plays as well.

His plays have been translated and performed in many different languages. In the Australian curriculum, it’s a requirement that one or more of his plays are studied. But teaching the Bard’s greatest works to students who spend significantly less time reading for pleasure and more time on screens, can be a challenging task.

With this in mind, No Fear Shakespeare books offer modern English translations of the writer’s plays and sonnets, making reading and understanding them much easier. And the question is now, for both teachers and parents, to use or not to use these books?

No Fear to Read

no fear shakespeare books
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Literature belongs to us all, but sometimes you can hear students complaining that the books they want to read are pushed aside as unserious entertainment, while books they don’t want to read become the centrepieces of their English literature learning. Very often, they miss deeper personal engagement with texts, more connections and passion.

The modernisation of Shakespeare might reduce the dramatic impact and the experience that comes from reading his plays, especially if being read aloud. However, when you choose carefully curated No Fear Shakespeare, you can enjoy both the original and the translated text side by side and it won’t take long to realise that it is a great tool for younger readers and first-time readers of Shakespeare’s plays.

His writing engages with various issues that are still important and relevant today, from sex to race, class, gender, religion, sexuality and more. The plays can be a stepping-stone for students to begin thinking about these topics as well as start exploring their own ideas, which can be useful for other subjects across the school curriculum as well, as similar themes may arise in history and politics, for instance.

That’s why Shakespearean text work is important. It involves paraphrasing, which is taking the text and putting it into your own words. And no one else can do it for you because it’s your personal connection to the play, the characters and how you understand and connect to the piece.

Literal paraphrasing is what’s translated into modern English, the way the dictionary would say it, while figurative paraphrasing is what the text means to you, what it makes you feel and how it makes you feel and the way you would say it.

No Fear Shakespeare can help young students understand the surface level and explain the metaphors and encourage them to paraphrase the plays. And it’s important to teach them that everyone can have their own paraphrases and create a connection between themselves and the text.

It’s important to teach them to get out of their heads and away from the screens for a moment and put the text into their head and body and using modern references could help make it easier and more understandable. Challenging your child to paraphrase the text is a great way to help them feel a connection to the play.

Another way to bring Shakespeare closely to your child’s attention is to pair the source material with retellings that offer creative and inclusive twists on the plays. New takes on classic stories are a great way to make them more accessible to students who may not see themselves in the books they read for school.

His plays can challenge and enlighten us, and he can bind us together across racial, economic and religious lines. His themes show us the love of justice, honour and love and warn us about jealousy, revenge and corruption. Simply put, his work shows us how little has changed in more than 400 years.

The world may have changed since Shakespeare’s time, but the core of humanity remains intact. People still struggle with major life decisions, love, loss, and the power of corruption and Shakespeare and his characters continue to influence and inspire modern authors.

Final Thoughts

Introducing Shakespeare to your child and helping them understand his plays when they’re assigned in class can help them develop a better understanding of the English language and even more, let them take a closer look into themselves and reflect on what motivates them or holds them back.

Did you know that you may even unwittingly quote Shakespeare? Every knock-knock joke you’ve ever told refers to Shakespeare’s Knock, knock, who’s there? in Macbeth, though it had a much more serious tone originally used.

But not all his work was fully original. He draws inspiration from The Bible, historical and mythical books and more, and modern authors get inspired by him, so the Weird Sisters in Harry Potter are inspired by the three witches in Macbeth, as well as several characters in Game of Thrones, so you can notice similarities between Queen Cersei and Lady Macbeth, Robert Baratheon and Falstaff, Little Finger and Iago and more.