No Fear Shakespeare

Spring break has begun for most students. After you catch up on your sleep, maybe it’s time to tackle a new learning challenge? How about finally trying to read some Shakespeare in English?

Reading Shakespeare in the original is a daunting but worthwhile challenge. But you may need some help deciphering the language. “No Fear Shakespeare” can help. It gives you the original text on the left and a modern translation on the right. Here’s an example from “Romeo and Juliet”:

RandJ prologue

This is from the SparkNotes website, which has a ton of other study guides for students, for literature, history, the sciences, and much, much more. They have articles like “Help us come up with Harry Potter spinoffs”, advice columns, videos and test prep pages, too.

The guides are meant for native English speakers (mostly high school and university students who are studying for exams, I think), but many of the pages can be a useful tool for EFL students, too.

Some teachers believe that using such study guides is a kind of cheating — if the students use the study guides as a substitute or shortcut and don’t try to read the original. I think it’s a great topic for debate!

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