Tales from Shakespeare: A Unit Study

On February 10, 1775, writer Charles Lamb was born in London.  Although best known for his essays, Tales from Shakespeare will be familiar to many homeschoolers.

Charles Lamb

Written with his sister Mary, Tales from Shakespeare sought to make Shakespearean tragedies and comedies accessible to children while maintaining the language of the original.  This was accomplished by weaving Shakespeare’s own words into a narrative and avoiding words more common to their own generation.

Perhaps their intentions in writing the book are made clear from this quote from the preface:

What these Tales shall have been to the YOUNG readers, that and much more it is the writers’ wish that the true Plays of Shakespeare may prove to them in older years—enrichers of the fancy, strengtheners of virtue, a withdrawing from all selfish and mercenary thoughts, a lesson of all sweet and honorable thoughts and actions, to teach courtesy, benignity, generosity, humanity: for of examples, teaching these virtues, his pages are full.

Tales from Shakespeare has become a classic in its own right.

Free eBook

Further Investigation

William Shakespeare Biography
From the Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust.

Phrases Coined by William Shakespeare
And there were a lot of them!


Everything Old is New Again
PBS handout where students translate lines from Shakespeare into modern English.

Interactive Globe Theatre
Learn more about the theater where Shakespeare’s plays were performed.

Shakespeare’s Globe Theater
Papercraft recreation.


Tales from Shakespeare
Non-illustrated from Project Gutenberg.

Tales from Shakespeare
Illustrated by Louis Rhead, published by Harper and Brothers, London, 1918.

Tales from Shakespeare
LibriVox audio version read by Karen Savage.

The Complete Concordance to Shakespeare by Mary Cowden Clarke
Well. “Complete” doesn’t really do it justice. 884-page tome that is helpful for finding that Shakespearean phrase you are looking for.

Unit Studies & Lesson Plans

Shakespeare Unit Study
Suggestions from Steward Ship.

Printables & Notebooking Pages

Words Coined by William Shakespeare Notebooking Pages
Free 6-page download at NotebookingFairy.com with pages that work great for copywork!

Tales From Shakespeare Notebooking Pages
Simple pages for copywork, narrations, or wrapping up.

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