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Musical Shakespeare

Found in: language arts & literature; oral reading

Teaching Shakespeare to all students is a given; however, there have been days when listening to my students read Julius Caesar has given me a headache to end all headaches. I've begun what I call Musical Shakespeare. I have an audiotape of the entire play. I take a book and highlight the important parts that we will discuss. I also have a class roster. I play the tape then stop it just before an important part. I call on a student to read the part aloud. The students receive credit for reading. If they choose not to read, they do not get credit that day, but will have opportunities later. Another student may volunteer to read for the points. We discuss the importance of the passage, and then I allow the tape to continue. The students hear the important parts twice.

Musical Shakespeare gives students an opportunity to read aloud, and it keeps them on their toes and reading. If I call on a student who is not at the right place, someone else can steal the opportunity for points. Once we've finished some of the shorter scenes or a scene with multiple characters, I also give the class the opportunity to do a reading or act out one of these parts. Even my most reluctant readers are willing to read, because I choose parts that are shorter or easier for them to read.


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