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National Strategy - Year 7

The key elements of the English Curriculum (Word Level, Sentence Level, Text Level reading and writing and Speaking and Listening) correspond to the Teaching Shakespeare worksheets in the following ways:

Word and Sentence level work is mostly covered in the Language section which examines how words and grammar have changed in the last 400 years. Exercises consider how word order has altered since Shakespeare’s time, how some words have been lost and others acquired new meanings, how verb endings have changed, and how pronouns and prepositions were often different to today’s usage. This section gives students opportunity to invent new words and requires use of dictionary and thesaurus.

Text level reading and writing activities are to be found in the On paper or computer sections. Many of the suggested activities require students to research related cultural or historical issues, providing opportunity to develop research skills such as skim reading and note-taking. Equal emphasis is placed on creative composition with tasks ranging from writing poetry to sustained imaginative fiction. Where space allows, reminders are given of the need to draft, edit and evaluate, though it is assumed that such procedures are in any case routine.

Speaking and Listening activities are addressed in the Talking points section to be found on almost every worksheet. These provide opportunities to discuss issues arising from each topic. In some instances this might be in paired work, in others in small groups, sometimes informally and sometimes in formal debate.

Within the Speaking and Listening sphere, Drama has a particular focus. The In performance elements offer students the chance to enjoy Shakespeare as drama rather than a purely literary experience. Some drama activities work towards a straight delivery of original Shakespeare, but most are based on role play and some include mime and dance. Many also require students to consider practical aspects of stage production, such as lighting, the use of sound effects or props.

All of the elements of the English curriculum outlined below are covered by the Teaching Shakespeare worksheets. All the books contain the broad elements, but details will vary from play to play. Eg. The Twelfth Night teacher’s resource book has worksheets on puns and nonsense verse, but similar pages will not be found in Teaching Shakespeare: Macbeth, for obvious reasons.

Word level

Spelling strategies

Draw on analogies to known words, roots, derivations, word families etc.


Define and deploy words with precision, including their exact implication in context;

Use a dictionary with speed and skill;

Work out the meaning of unknown words using context, etymology, morphology, compound patterns and other qualities such as onomatopoeia;

Read accurately and use correctly, vocabulary which relates to key concepts in each subject;

Draw links between words in different languages, eg. haus, house.

Sentence Level

Standard English language variation

Vary the formality of language in speech and writing to suit different circumstances;

Investigate differences between spoken and written language structures, eg. hesitation in speech;

Use Standard English consistently in formal situations and in writing;

Identify specific ways sentence structure and punctuation are different in older texts.

Text level – Reading

Reading; Research and study skills

Know how to locate resources for a given task, and find relevant information in them, eg. skimming, use of index, glossary, key words;

Use appropriate reading strategies to extract particular information, eg. highlighting, scanning;

Make brief, clearly-organized notes of key points for later use;

Appraise the value and relevance of information found and acknowledge sources.

Reading for meaning

Identify the main points, processes or ideas in a text and how they are sequenced and developed by the writer;

Infer and deduce meanings using evidence in the text, identifying where and how meanings are implied;

Distinguish between the views of the writer and those expressed by others in the text, eg. the narrator, quoted experts, characters;

Recognize how print, sound and still or moving images combine to create meaning.

Understanding the author’s craft

Comment using appropriate terminology on how writers convey setting, character and mood through word choice and sentence structure;

Recognize how writers’ language choices can enhance meaning, eg. repetition, emotive vocabulary, varied line length, sound effects;

Trace the ways in which a writer structures a text to prepare a reader for the ending, and comment on the effectiveness of the ending;

Distinguish between the attitudes and assumptions of characters and those of the author.

Study of literary texts

Give a considered response to a play, as script, on screen or in performance, focusing on interpretation of action, character and event;

Explore how form contributes to meaning in poems from different times and cultures;

Explore the notion of literary heritage and understand why some texts have been particularly influential or significant.

Text level – Writing

Plan, draft and present

Plan, draft, edit, revise, proofread and present a text with readers and purpose in mind;

Collect, select and assemble ideas in a suitable planning format, eg. flow chart, list, star chart;

Use writing to explore and develop ideas, eg. journals, brainstorming techniques and other mental mapping activities.

Writing to imagine, explore and entertain

Structure a story with an arresting opening, a developing plot, a complication, a crisis and a satisfying resolution;

Portray character, directly and indirectly through description, dialogue and action;

Use a range of narrative devices to involve the reader, eg. withholding information;

Experiment with the visual and sound effects of language, including the use of imagery, alliteration, rhythm and rhyme;

Make links between their reading of fiction, plays and poetry and the choices they make as writers.

Write to inform, explain, describe

Describe an object, person or setting in a way that includes relevant details and is accurate and evocative.

Write to persuade, argue, advise

Express a personal view, adding persuasive emphasis to key points, eg. by reiteration, exaggeration, repetition, use of rhetorical questions;

Find and use different ways to validate an argument, eg. statistical evidence, exemplification, testimony.

Write to analyse, review, comment

Write reflectively about a text, taking account of the needs of others who might read it.

Speaking and listening


Use talk as a tool for clarifying ideas, eg. by articulating problems or asking pertinent questions;

Tailor the structure, vocabulary and delivery of a talk or presentation so that listeners can follow it;

Give clear answers, instructions or explanations that are helpfully sequenced, linked and supported by gesture or other visual aid;

Promote, justify or defend a point of view using supporting evidence, example and illustration which are linked back to the main argument.


Listen and recall the main points of a talk, reading or television programme, reflecting on what has been heard to ask searching questions, make comments or challenge the views expressed;

Answer questions pertinently drawing on relevant evidence or reasons;

Identify the main methods used by presenters to explain, persuade, amuse or argue a case, eg. emotive vocabulary, verbal humour;

Group discussion and interaction

Identify and report the main points emerging from discussion;

Adopt a range of roles in discussion, including acting as spokesperson, and contribute in different ways such as promoting, opposing, exploring propositions;

Use explanatory, hypothetical and speculative talk as a way of researching ideas and expanding thinking;

Work together logically and methodically to solve problems, make deductions, share, test and evaluate ideas;

Acknowledge other people’s views, justifying or modifying their own views in the light of what others say.


Develop drama techniques to explore in role a variety of situations and texts or respond to stimuli;

Work collaboratively to devise and present scripted and unscripted pieces, which maintain the attention of an audience;

Extend their spoken repertoire by experimenting with language in different roles and dramatic contexts;

Reflect on and evaluate their presentations and those of others.

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