This is a book review of STAGEiT! Shakespeare. The author of STAGEiT! Shakespeare is Floyd Rumohr, and he was gracious enough to send me a few copies so I could review them and give some away to my followers. I have 3 copies of STAGEiT! Shakespeare Grades 5-8 to give away, read on to learn how to be entered for this giveaway!
First of all, I’m all about making Shakespeare much more accessible to the kids, as you all know from the Shakespeare for Kids books that I write.
So, when I got a chance to review STAGEiT! Shakespeare books, I was stoked. Another tool for teachers to reach and engage kids with Shakespeare. I’m going to summarize his “Acting Tools for Students” books in a simple nutshell:
- The books start out with the basics of drama, dare I call it Drama 101
- Then the meat of the play, starting with:
- Cast of Characters
- Plot Synopsis – this is critical, especially with 5th – 8th graders, and he summarizes the stories fairly quick. The better the kids understand the basics of the play, the more they will enjoy it when seeing it live or reading it.
- “In My Own Words” worksheet… well, it’s more than a worksheet… it’s sheer genius. He has a shortened play, all written on the left side, and a blank right side of the page. (see a screen shot below) This is where the student spends time before writing their own words about the play. Since he uses a shortened play, it becomes easier to understand.
- After all that goodness, he ends the book with the entire play, shortened for kids; and a glossary (a must have for ANY Shakespeare actor.)
Here are the pros and cons from my perspective. But let me make something clear out the gate, I would buy these books if I was teaching these stories to my kids.
Pros: The smaller scripts (about 40 minute plays using The Bard’s language – see sample below), the breakdown of the language, and the activity to interpret Shakespeare’s language in small bite-size pieces. That piece is invaluable.
Cons: The books are a bit large, it would be hard to fit on the shelf in some classrooms. I personally believe they’re better for grade 7 through 10 as opposed to the recommended grades 5 – 8, but it depends on the teacher and the class and what’s appropriate for them. In the beginning of the books, they all start the same way, with the basics of acting. I would push that off onto the teacher more than the book. I would keep it focused on Shakespeare, and put the beginning stuff in a separate acting book that compliments this series. The book has plenty to stand on, on it’s own two feet.
I would give these books a 9/10… And let’s be honest here, another resource to help your kids engage and understand Shakespeare is always valuable. Like I said before, I would have STAGEiT Shakespeare books in my classroom. Where to find these books? You can find all STAGEiT! Shakespeare books here on Amazon.
Lucky for us, the author gave me a few books to give away. So I have three different books to give out. The rules are simple: 2 entries for every like or retweet and 10 entries for every share or reblog! Be sure to mention my name for Facebook or @Shakespeare4kid for Twitter, so I know you mentioned the article! I will pick a winner in one week, good luck!