William Shakespeare / During Reading / /

Introducing Shakespeare

Using choral reading to become familiar with the style and format

Lesson length: 1 session

Lesson from William Shakespeare series

Required reading: Pages 1-4

Text potential

  • Literary features: Quotation
  • Language features: Tense: present and past tense

Strategies used

  • Fluency Approaches


Reading a nonfiction book offers a different reading experience to fiction. This book presents information in different ways using a range of devices. The authors use a mixture of formal and informal styles and tenses as well as speech bubbles and a variety of fonts. Choral reading is a supportive strategy to develop fluency and confidence in reading. Using choral reading in this lesson provides an excellent way to introduce the range of styles to the children in a way which will support them when reading the rest of the book. 


  • Copies of Choral Reading, one per child.
  • Copies of Shakespeare, at least one per pair.


Read page one aloud. The children should follow in their copies of the book. At the end of the first page, re-read and invite the children to join in the reading using choral reading. Ask:

  • Is there anything you noticed about the way this is written?
  • Is anything unusual or puzzling? 
  • Are there any words you were unfamiliar with? (Some of the uncommon words appear in the Orientation lesson Slideshow about Elizabethan England.)

Draw attention to the quotation from As You Like It, which appears underneath the heading and ask:

  • Why do you think this quotation has been included? 

Read page two aloud before the class join in using choral reading. Ask:

  • Did you notice anything about the way the different sections have been written? 
  • Has the same person written them?

Distribute copies of the Choral Reading resource. This shows the text from pages 1 and 2 using different colours to distinguish between different voices. There are ten distinct sections which vary in length. 

The class can be organised into ten groups with 2-4 children in each group. Give time for the groups to rehearse their section. Some groups have very little to say. The lines can be allocated so that one group has several shorter sections of text. Gather the class to read the spread together. 

Next organise the class into groups of three to four. These can be self-selected or chosen by the teacher for pedagogical purposes. The children will now read pages 3 and 4, making decisions about how to read. 

Invite the groups to ‘perform’ their reading of the spread to the rest of the class.

Final reflection

Reflect on the experience of reading the opening pages of the book. Ask:

  • What have you learnt so far that has been of most interest? 
  • Do you have any questions about William Shakespeare? 

Make a note of questions to refer to as you read on.

Key vocabulary

quotation, style, past tense, present tense


Choral Reading

Choral Reading


Sam Keeley

Formerly a teacher and local authority advisory teacher, Sam now works with Just Imagine as an English consultant and manager of the year 6 Reading Gladiators programme.

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