Early Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream Book Cover Early Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream
Early Shakespeare
CD-ROM for PC only

This CD-ROM presents an abridged animated version of A Midsummer Night's Dream broken down into forty simple scenes. Children click on the 'Next' button once they have finished listening to and watching a scene. Each scene has a one sentence summary for children to read and listen to and they can click on a character to hear an extract of a speech from that scene. The scene summaries use the first 100 high-frequency words, while the speeches are in Shakespeare's original language. The text is illustrated with associated symbols aimed at visual learners.

Three activities are offered in the form of games: characters, sequencing and comprehension. Teachers can switch between four levels to allow differentiation. The CD-ROM also offers resources including varied worksheets such as masks, colouring sheets and matching activities and a copy of the abridged script.

The scenes are presented simply using colourful backgrounds, attractive cartoon characters and lively audio recordings. SEN Assist products are designed to include all children aged 3-11 years, but younger children may find it difficult to sustain their interest throughout the forty scenes. However the CD-ROM does offer other activities and it would be a useful resource to supplement a literacy scheme presented by the teacher - perhaps with some drama activities. I noticed that in the Comprehension section, speeches sometimes get repeated.

The CD-ROM is available from www.earlyshakespeare.com (where a demonstration can be seen). A version of Romeo and Juliet is also available.