Shakespeare in Three Steps

Shakespeare in Three Steps

(10 customer reviews)

An enjoyable and simple approach to some of the greatest literature ever written—the plays of William Shakespeare! Help your students become familiar with Shakespeare's imaginative stories, memorable characters, and brilliant lines in three simple steps.

A free PDF e-book version is included with every print book so you can easily make copies of the script for your students.

We highly recommend using the excellent audio dramatizations from Arkangel Shakespeare with Shakespeare in Three Steps. See full description

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Product Description

An enjoyable and simple approach to some of the greatest literature ever written—the plays of William Shakespeare! Help your students become familiar with Shakespeare’s imaginative stories, memorable characters, and brilliant lines in three simple steps: 1. Read the story. 2. Hear the script. 3. Watch the play.

Click the individual books below to view their full details. You’ll see more about each play’s plot and our recommended grade levels, so you can find a play that will be interesting and age-appropriate for your students.

“To become intimate with Shakespeare in this way is a great enrichment of mind and instruction of conscience.”—Charlotte Mason

Each Shakespeare in Three Steps book provides everything you need:

  • A well-written story version of the play by E. Nesbit or Charles and Mary Lamb—classic narratives that have been providing a wonderful introduction to Shakespeare’s plays for decades.
  • The complete script of the play with helpful notes to explain unusual terms or add to your understanding of Shakespeare’s stories, characters, and lines. When you purchase a printed version of Shakespeare in Three Steps, you will also receive the e-book version in PDF form so you can easily make copies of the included script for your students.
  • An outlined plan for walking through the script, divided into manageable portions with quick recaps, scene introductions, and summaries that will guide you each step of the way. We highly recommend using the excellent audio dramatizations from Arkangel Shakespeare for this step, so students can hear the lines delivered masterfully from the very beginning.
  • Script highlights, featuring well-known or just ponder-worthy lines, that will gently introduce the Bard’s genius and cultivate an appreciation for his wonderful way with words.
  • Parental advisories to give you a heads-up on scenes that may contain material inappropriate for children.
  • Helpful lists of the characters in the scenes and the number of lines each one speaks, so you can assign parts knowledgeably for reading sessions or acting roles.
  • Candid reviews of several video recordings of the play to save you time previewing and help you select an appropriate presentation for your students to watch and enjoy.

10 reviews for Shakespeare in Three Steps

  1. Tracy P.

    This is an excellent resource! My sons (11 &4) and I have thoroughly enjoyed Shakespeare and this tool has made our studies much more thorough and extremely enjoyable, not to mention, it made my planning and prep much easier. I especially appreciated the review section of the various DVD options available to watch the play. We have only used “As You Like It” but we are looking forward to our next study of Shakespeare with this valuable SCM resource. I hope there are more in the works.

  2. Michelle

    This looks great…question is this something that we do all year? I usually have taken a year to go through a play. Is there a suggested schedule?


    • Jordan Smith

      We recommend doing one Shakespeare play each year, but it won’t take you the entire year to complete the play. While the Shakespeare in Three Steps books don’t include a schedule, they are divided into between 12 and 16 lessons (depending on the length of the play). You can decide if it’s best to do the lessons once each week, or on a more frequent schedule.

  3. Sandy

    These are very enjoyable and helpful. Would love to have more plays!

  4. Andrea

    We have just finished A Midsummer Night’s Dream and my entire family really enjoyed it. The Three Steps Program makes the plays accessible to all ages. We loved the format. We watched the Globe Player production of the play. I would recommend adding it to your list of productions to watch after reading/listening to the play. I enjoyed the production much better than the movie adaptations that are available.

    Will there be more plays soon? Thank you!

    • Jordan Smith

      So glad your family enjoyed A Midsummer Night’s Dream!

      We are planning to release more Shakespeare in Three Steps books, but we don’t have a release date right now. Watch our blog or weekly e-mails for an announcement when a new book is ready.

  5. Beth

    We did A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the fall and have just completed As You Like It. This has been a fabulous resource! We are following Ambleside’s recommendation to do a Shakespeare play for each term (3 per year), and the way this book is set up up, we have easily been able to do that – as well as memorize a few lines from each play. (A great book for memory suggestions is How To Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig.) The way the play is laid out makes it very easy for my older elementary/middle school children to follow. The summary at the beginning with lines to notice is just enough information to give us a good background without being too overwhelming. For someone who wasn’t familiar with Shakespeare, this has been perfect for us!! I keep checking to see when more are coming in – I’ll be buying those as soon as they’re off the presses!!


  6. Sarah

    I haven’t used any of these yet, but I am interested in trying them. We have been doing Shakespeare for several years, basically following the three step process outlined with this program (our library even has all the arkangel audio plays). Now that I have children in three different forms, I am looking for ways to simplify my schedule with planning and preparation. Since I am not very familiar with Shakespeare myself, my hope is that the introduction, highlights, and outline will make Shakespeare less time consuming (on my part) and more enjoyable overall. I’m wondering if suggested exam questions are included with the program?? This would certainly be very helpful and help make my decision on whether to purchase easier! Sorry for posting this under reviews but I couldn’t find a place where to ask questions.

    • Sonya Shafer

      Hi, Sarah. Exam questions are not included in these Shakespeare books. My main goal was to make Shakespeare enjoyable to the students, so they wouldn’t feel intimidated by him (the way many of us parents do). So I would recommend that, if you want to include exam questions, you might focus on the ones that reveal the personal relations the students made with each play:

      Tell the story of (this play).
      Describe your favorite scene from (this play).

  7. Meghann Byerline

    Does anyone have a suggestion for a family studying Shakespeare for the first time? My oldest is only going into second grade. My middle girl is only four. Honestly though, we’ve never shied from theater and music in our house. My girls love Beethoven and Phantom of the Opera 😉

    • Sonya Shafer

      A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a great play to start with for younger children. It has the fun make-believe of fairies, including the mischievous Puck, plus the silliness of the bumbling actors and a donkey’s head. Even if you only read the Nesbit story version aloud for your young children, I think they would enjoy it. And your second grader might also like to hear the audio version in short bits and watch one of the child-friendly video recordings reviewed in the Shakespeare in Three Steps guide.

      You might also ask your question on our discussion forum to get other moms’ opinions.

  8. LaJean

    We completed As You Like It and A Midsummer Night’s Dream last year and really enjoyed both! Thank you for creating such wonderful resources! We are wanting to do The Taming of the Shrew this fall with our homeschool community; ages would range from 6-12. Thoughts? Would this play be to “mature”? I’m very open to other suggestions you may have. Thank you!

    • Tamara Bell

      I’m so glad your children enjoyed As You Like it and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. My children laughed quite a bit during A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Twelfth Night would be a good option for the age group you are looking for. It is a humorous play about a girl, posing as page to a duke, who finds her identical twin brother and wins her true love amid a series of confusing events.

      We do feel the Taming of the Shrew has content not appropriate for the younger crowd. We have a page available on the website that comes in handy when trying to decide the youngest grade a Shakespeare work may be appropriate for. I hope it helps in the future. Have a wonderful time with your homeschool group as you spend time with the Bard.

  9. Michele

    Hi! I just ordered this resource and I am trying to plan out our school weeks. For kids ages 7 and 9, what do you think is a reasonable time expectation for each lesson? I know there are between 12 and 16 lessons per play but not sure how much time to allow for each in our schedule. We chose to start with Midsummer. If we do a lesson a week, should I block one time per week for the lesson or spread the lesson out over the week (a little bit each day)? I know it’s likely a personal preference but I was wondering if anyone here had a preference. Thanks!

    • Tamara Bell

      Hi there! Generally I found 15 minutes a good time allowance if you are listening the the ArkAngel audio recordings while reading along. Occasionally the lessons would go a bit longer. If you are reading the play out loud instead of listening to it, it may take longer than 15 minutes.

  10. Melanie

    I am a former high school English teacher, and this is the best Shakespeare curriculum I have ever used! It makes it accessible without dumbing down the bard’s beautiful language. My thirteen year old son’s first exposure to Shakespeare (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) was an absolute joy thanks to Simply Charlotte Mason. I highly recommend using the Arkangel audio recording as recommended. It’s available on Audible. I also recommend Midsummer for anyone’s first foray into Shakespeare.

    One question: when will Romeo & Juliet come out? I taught freshman, and I added it up once: I have read Romeo & Juliet 36 times! The poetry is still beautiful (though not actually a portrayal of real love as so many believe – one thing I emphasized when I taught it to teenagers!) One thing I learned: cultures may have changed, but adolescence hasn’t.

    • Tamara Bell

      Thank you for your gracious words! While we may one day have Romeo and Juliet, it is not a project we are currently working on.

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