Summer Academy 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Summer Academy. Please connect with us via online programs and resources!

Transform your classroom and unleash every single student’s potential as a reader, inquirer, thinker, communicator, and doer. Learn how to teach literature the Folger way.

Dive deeply into A Midsummer Night’s Dream and emerge with a radically authentic, adventurous, student-driven, language-focused, lively and enlivening methodology for teaching any student how to grapple with any complex text.

WHEN: July 19-24, 2020 (one week)

WHERE: National Building Museum, Washington, DC (Folger is on the road during our building renovation project!)

WHO: 30 teachers eager to take a deep dive into...

  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream—scholarship, live performance, and classroom practice— and
  • The Folger Method of teaching, so that ALL students realize the power of language and their own minds!

WHAT: Whether you’ve never taught Shakespeare or have been teaching Midsummer for decades, this academy is for you. Learn how to use the unique and multifaceted resources of the Folger to help all students read closely, interrogate actively, and make meaning from texts. Connect with the real thing yourself—Shakespeare’s original language, honest conversations about the hard questions raised by that language, and the latest scholarship and archival discoveries—and learn how to connect your students with the real thing, too.  Approach Midsummer from a range of perspectives: learn alongside leading scholars, mentor teachers, and fellow participants—as well as artists working on a real live production of the play. Gain engaging, effective strategies that get students unlocking not just Midsummer but any complex text. Design new learning experiences that honor, excite, and challenge each and every one of your students. Academy days are jam-packed so that you have the very best, fullest adventure!


By the end of this program, participants will have

  • experienced firsthand the foundational principles, arc of learning, and essential practices of the Folger Method, the gold standard for teaching literature to every single student.
  • learned how to use the Folger Method to get ALL students reading closely, interrogating actively, and making meaning—not just from Midsummer but from any complex text.
  • completed a strategic sequence of classes designed to develop their own learning, thinking, and teaching—from hands-on curriculum classes and teaching workshops to scholarly seminars and performance experiences.
  • learned how and why to teach The Real Thing: Shakespeare’s original language, primary source materials, facts that present a complete picture of the Early Modern world, and honest conversations about the hard questions raised in the plays.
  • learned how to amplify the voice of every single student—no matter the lesson or text.
  • gained a range of scholarly perspectives on Midsummer and Shakespeare and deepened their own thinking about the words, characters, and big questions of this play.
  • gotten up close with a live production at Midsummer and the artists behind it—and considered the role of performance in student literacy.
  • created a new professional learning community with fellow classroom teachers, Folger mentor teachers, leading scholars, museum and library experts, performers, and directors.

FACULTY: Directors Dr. Peggy O’Brien & Corinne Viglietta, Folger Education; Mentor Teachers Deborah Gascon, Dutch Fork High School (SC), & Amber Phelps, Baltimore City College High School (MD); Scholars and Performance Faculty to be announced soon!


  • “This was by far the best PD I’ve ever experienced.”
  • “Working with the Folger changed my life.”
  • “I had no idea I could learn so much and transform my teaching so much in just one week.”
  • “This program will change how I teach not just Shakespeare but everything.”
  • “I am equipped and empowered to take risks as a teacher and let my students own their learning.”
  • “This week fed my learner brain, my scholar brain, and my teacher brain.”

Questions? Email Peggy O'Brien ( 



Photo by James R. Brantley