One of my fondest memories from teaching fourth grade was our yearly unit on Shakespeare. We would read Romeo and Juliet and then put on the play. The children handled everything from scenery, to scripts, to costumes. I knew that we had succeeded in getting the children excited when my big, cool fourth grade boys insisted on wearing tights as part of their costumes! I always used the Shakespeare for Kids books by Lois Burdett and I cannot say enough wonderful things about these books. They put the stories into language, while using rhyming couplets, that children can understand and get excited about. The illustrations are done by children and are absolutely inspired!
Last evening, to celebrate the first day of summer, we read A Midsmmer Night's Dream. The children were a bit perplexed about why midsummer is on the first day of summer, but a bit of google searching explained that it's actually the mid growing season in England. We stopped fairly often to explain a little more thoroughly what was happening in the story to Harris- Grace seemed to follow along easily. However, he didn't have any problem grasping the part where the lovers in the play killed themselves- he promptly acted that part out for us! If we had more family members we would certainly be acting this one out!