Primary Primary Literacy

Shakespeare and English

The English language owes a lot to Shakespeare. If he hadn’t written his plays chock full of new words and phrases, we would find it hard to express ourselves eloquently today. It’s hard to believe that many of the words and phrases we use today have been around for over four hundred years. Accommodation, advertising, puking and more, all of which seem modern day words, owe their usage to the Bard.

In the activities that accompany this Freedom to Teach article, you can surprise your pupils with how many phrases come from Shakespeare by getting them to identify them in a passage that could come straight out of a soap.
You can also let them look at the list of words in the second activity and surprise them by telling them that all of the words were made up by the man. Challenge them to become the new Shakespeare and invent a word of their own, showing its meaning in a sentence.

There’s fun and easy ways to perform a play too, also a chance to write a sonnet ‘a la bard’ in fact, more Shakespeare than you can ‘shake a spear’ at!!

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