The Sonnets, by Shakespeare

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
The Sonnets, by Shakespeare App Poster Image
Sleek, searchable Shakespearean sonnets, with audio.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to appreciate literature and language through reading Shakespeare's sonnets. They'll develop vocabulary and critical-thinking skills by deciphering the meaning of the words and phrases as well as the themes of the poems. The app includes the poems and readings only, with no background or analysis, so parents may want to supplement with discussions. The Sonnets, by Shakespeare is essentially an ebook that makes the sonnets accessible for reading or listening.

Ease of Play

Interface is sleek and easy to navigate.

Violence
Sex

Many of these Shakespearean classics are about love, though anything remotely explicit is written poetically.

Language
Consumerism

Free app includes occasional ad screens.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Sonnets, by Shakespeare is a searchable compilation of all 154 of Shakespeare's sonnets. Kids can share sonnets from within the app using other apps installed on the device (social media, email), but no personal information is requested otherwise. 

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What's it about?

THE SONNETS, BY SHAKESPEARE opens with a simple screen with three choices: Read, Lookup, or Videos. Read offers each Sonnet, starting with Sonnet I, to be read, heard read aloud, or shared. Swipe to turn the virtual page to the next sonnet. Lookup includes an index of all the sonnets in order, with first lines listed. The search functions use keywords to search all the sonnets. Videos include a dramatic reading of the poem, some with artwork matched; other only show the words.

Is it any good?

The interface is elegant -- including only the sonnets -- with the modern convenience of searchable text. The voice reading aloud is pleasant, though a male voice reads everything. The sonnets alone are a wealth of information, but a dictionary function to help kids make sense of Shakespearean language or explanations of the literary devices would be a nice addition.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Shakespeare's works and his influence on literature and media today. Read your favorite sonnet together and talk about what it means.

  • Choose an age-appropriate Shakespeare-inspired movie to watch together as a family. Try Gnomeo and Juliet for younger kids or Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing for teens.

App details

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