8th graders in the Ivanoski/Dodds sections of English classes have begun studying Romeo and Juliet this week. For some students, the biggest barrier to reading and ultimately enjoying classics is understanding the words written in Old English which are sometimes hard to comprehend.
To help, students are using an app called “SwipeSpeare” to bridge the gap between Old English and Modern English as they read Romeo and Juliet. In order to provide scaffolding for understanding the rich language of Shakespeare, students pre-read assigned scenes in “modern” English as homework. The pre-reading gives student a better understanding of the plot and meaning of the passage before they read it in its original form. In class, they read the original text (in textbooks) while listening to the dramatic reading. This is all followed by much discussion.
The “Swipespeare" app is an effective tool for differentiation in the classroom. Using this app is particularly helpful for students with limited language and decoding skills and gives them more of a chance to enjoy the literature. Students who are ready for the challenge of reading Shakespeare in its original form can use the app to “check” their understanding of the language by “swiping” to the modern language.
An example from Act IV Scene II
Original: “See where she comes from shirft with merry look.”
Modern: “Here she comes with a smile on her face.”