Shakespeare & The Three Little Pigs

My classical literature club met Monday evening and we discussed Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis. The project for the book: to rewrite a scene from the novel using a setting and characters from another book, movie or a modern day setting and characters was awesome. Each member read his scene and I gave them their lesson and project assignment for The Iliad. The project for The Iliad is to make original board games using the plot, themes and setting of the story. If you want to see pictures of board games from past meetings follow this link: Make Classical Literature Fun by Creating Board Games.

The kids went for a walk and hung out together as teens love doing and the mothers retreated to the sofas for coffee, tea, and girl-talk. One mother told us about a really funny video by John Branyan. It’s about Shakespeare and the Three Little Pigs. This story is literature you know. *grin*

Branyan says Shakespeare used 54,000 words and the average American uses 3,000.  I’m not sure about this. These numbers are on WikiAnswers.

Speaking Vocabulary Count of the Average English Speaker
Grade 1 Student = 1,000+ words
Normal Person (Graduate) = 5,000 to 6,000+ words
University Professor = 15,000+ words
Spelling Bee Winners = 30,000+ (as claimed by them)
College Dictionary (Abridged) = 50,000 – 70,000
Total Words in English Language = 250,000+ (Growing)
Dictionary (Un-abridged) with derivatives = 450,000+
Shakespeare used 60,000 words

Are these figures accurate?

I really don’t know. I share this video because it’s funny not for the facts. I like stories, all kinds of stories. I enjoy fables, nursery rhymes, parables, science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction and more.  The Three Little Pigs entertains me. Les Miserables captures my heart and teaches me. The Hunger Games suspends me with anticipation and Harry Potter delights my imagination and takes me to a world where anything is possible.

I love books and I want to share my pleasure with others. I love providing a place to share stories and helping others have fun with them too. This is why my children fulfill their English credit through a classical  literature club. It brings life to the curriculum and the books.

I hope you enjoy the video. The mothers Monday night were splitting a gut laughing.

What about you?

As a writer how do you find the right word?

As a reader how does your vocabulary affect your enjoyment of books?

Want Help Starting Your Book Club? Read This Post.

Want Help Starting Your Book Club? Read This Post.


  1. Cute video, Ali. I’ve heard those statistics before and can’t deny that my own vocabulary is limited. Over the weekend, I finished Elizabeth George’s Believing the Lie and was struck again by how important it is to grow my vocabulary. Her settings are vivid and real because she uses the perfect detail. She’s never afraid of the obscure word so I read with a dictionary beside me.

    Love it!

  2. Hi Ali,

    As an avid reader and writer, I do like to think I have a nice-sized vocabulary. I’m constantly telling other people what words mean (not sure if it is anywhere near 15,000, though); however, if I’m reading a book and I have to stop too many times to look up a word, then I lose the story and the enjoyment. As a writer, my audience is made up of those ‘normal’ people, and I don’t want to alienate them.

    • God point Traci. I suppose taking into account the age of the reader we are writing to is important as well. I do like increasing my vocab bank. It makes my writing easier, more of a flow during the process.

  3. Great video, Ali. I just sent it to my husband (also a writer – although in the technical area).
    I have been always fascinated with the concept of a language building, no matter which language – I speak Polish, English and Russian. Unfortunately I have forgotten my German but one day I might take a refreshment course.

    English is my second language and maybe because of that I strive to never stop building my vocabulary. Reading books is one of the best methods to do. Kindle (and other e-readers) have a dictionary built in, so anytime I need to check on a word, it takes just one click.

    Your book club sounds fantastic. I hope one day to be a part of a similar group 🙂

  4. I didn’t know Kindle has a dictionary built in. I can’t wait to own one. When you get a book club started I’ll be happy to share some materials with you to get you started. One day I hope to make them into a book but for now I share them with my close friends. Just let me know.

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