Shakespeare is for everybody—and that includes elementary school and English Language Learning students! Many performance-based teaching strategies work very successfully with these students, getting them up on their feet and interacting with the text cognitively, physically, and vocally. At this stage, students are less conditioned to "fear" Shakespeare's words, and are willing to play!
English Language Learners/English as a Second Language students (ELL/ESL) come to reading Shakespeare from diverse backgrounds, with different experiences, prior knowledge, and varying styles of learning. In addition, students in any given classroom will be at different points in their English language acquisition. Because of these considerations, teaching Shakespeare to ELL/ESL students requires a specific arsenal of strategies for reading and for dramatic performance.
For ideas to use in your elementary classroom, check out our webinar on teaching Shakespeare in elementary and middle school s, teaching modules for primary level students, teacher to teacher videos, and an NPR feature on second grade students reading Macbeth.
For your ELL/ESL classroom, check out our teaching modules which incorporate performance-based teaching methodologies that can be highly effective with students of every ability, at every grade level. Although written with ELL/ESL students in mind, these lessons will be valuable and fun additions to any language curriculum.