There are many benefits to exposing children to the famous playwright’s works
In your opinion what are the short-term and long-term benefits of teaching kids Shakespeare?
Short-term benefits would include your child falling in love with classic stories and, if you start them memorizing young, falling in love with beautiful language.
The long-term benefits are the great lessons on vice and virtue that sink in over time, and the deeper truths about life — many which reflect the beauty of the Catholic faith. If children are exposed to beautiful language at an early age, they are more likely to use beautiful words and well-constructed thoughts in written and verbal communication. Most importantly, beauty always draws us closer to God.
If a parent or teacher reading this has little knowledge of Shakespeare but wants to begin exposing their children to it, what are some simple ways to do that?
First, buy some beautiful illustrated children’s books and read them to your kids. (Lois Burdett’s books are great for playacting.) The Ludwig book I mentioned (How to Teach Your Child Shakespeare) tells you step by step how to help your child learn and fall in love with Shakespeare.
Also, take some time as a parent to read authors who cover Shakespeare’s themes from a Catholic perspective. Dr. Henry Russell has recorded several talks on some of Shakespeare’s plays that delve into his Catholic themes. By understanding the deeper truths Shakespeare is expressing, you can help your growing child see more clearly the importance of virtue and how destructive vice can be.
Lastly, don’t be discouraged! Even if it seems your child is bored or complains, take a short break and read shorter bits for a while, but remember that the beauty of the language is leaving a mark.
Zoe Romanowsky is lifestyle editor and video content producer at Aleteia.
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