By Julia Perlowski
If the use of Shakespeare’s early modern English is under attack in some “regular” and “honors” English classrooms, just think about what the reaction might be to the use of such rigorous text in an Intensive Reading class!
At Pompano Beach High School, I am not only the ONLY drama teacher, I am also the ONLY reading teacher. I teach all levels of reading from grades 9-12. While I am producing Romeo and Juliet in the auditorium during fourth period with my drama students, I am reading the same texts way out in portable 3 during first and second periods with my striving readers.
I believe that a text does not have to be changed among students of a variety of abilities… just the TASKS! One may “perform” Shakespeare by acting it out or by engaging in ANY activity that requires one to read closely and critically to execute the task. With struggling readers, there is great power in reading and re-reading and re-reading, for that is how even the best of readers grasps meaning, nuances, and depth.
Here is the “performance” task around the R&J Prologue for my Intensive Reading Class: