Shake It Up: Learning Shakespeare with ReadThrough

Shakespeare’s plays were written to be experienced, not read. They’re meant to engage all the senses and should be taught in the same, full-bodied way.

But it isn’t always possible for an entire class to watch a play on a whim. For a student to show up to a live performance of
Macbeth every time they want to hear how a specific pun is delivered. They can’t rewind actors; they can’t halt a performance to ask them to speak up.

Film adaptations are another option, but then they run the risk of watching a Baz Luhrmann interpretation and thinking that Hawaiian shirts were a fashion staple for young men from middle-ages Verona.

ReadThrough from stage left.

Not to be all “our app is going to save your life”, but our app is going to save your life. Well, maybe not your life. Definitely your time, though.

We may be screenplay nerds at WriterDuet, but boy do we love Shakespeare. It’s why we’ve dedicated an entire library to his plays and tailored
ReadThrough to be an all-in-one platform for learning and teaching The Bard’s work.

will give your class the tools necessary for that hard-to-come-by heightened sensory experience. They can read, listen, perform and collaborate – in one place, on any device.

Let’s not beat around the bush: Interpreting Shakespeare is hard. If it weren’t for 10 Things I Hate About You, a lot of us would probably never understand what The Taming of the Shrew is about.

Everyone learns differently, which makes things particularly hard. Fortunately, ReadThrough has tools to accommodate all types of learners.

Every Shakespeare script on the app
is a performance in itself: each character is verbally played by a trained actor. This means subtle ambiguities can be taught directly by the pros. To test their knowledge, students can even attempt the tonality of specific lines before hitting play on recordings. They can rewind to their hearts content to decipher those more pesky puns!

No more squabbling over who gets the lead role! With ReadThrough’s recording capabilities, students can play any and all parts. They can record their own lines to perfection, while those who learn by listening can do just that. This even allows virtual table reads.

Using outline tools, students can highlight their lines and filter down to their own lines or to the scene being read.
ReadThrough makes it easy to navigate to specific scenes, which is often crucial when working on small sections at a time – from entire scenes to specific soliloquies.

Are there some students in your class who think they’re better writers than Shakespeare? Well, now their chance to prove it to you.

gives students the power to revise Shakespeare himself. We personally hope they use these powers to make some of the plays a tad less sad.

Teachers can also upload written tasks for students to stimulate the writing process. This might include sonnet templates that students can use as springboards for their creativity or writing prompts that they can really lose themselves in. And not to go on about it, but maybe maybe you can have them do a writing exercise where they give Romeo & Juliet a happy ending? Just an idea…

If your students engage by analyzing, rather than performing, they can easily document their immediate reactions and perceptions by leaving comments on scripts. These comments can be personal or shared. This is helpful for group analysis, feedback, or – for the enthusiastic scholars – for fun.

Learning, teaching and experiencing Shakespeare couldn’t be easier with ReadThrough. At least not until we figure out a way to bring him – or, if you’re a conspiracy theorist, her – back to tell us how it’s done. 

And not to be all “until then, our app is your next best bet”, but until then, our app is your next best bet. And it’s a pretty darn good one!

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