SHAKESPEARE should be translated into text-speak to make him more relevant to modern teenagers, leading education figures said today.
Head teachers and education departments are worried about new figures that show standards in English among 14-year-olds has dropped.
They fear that it is because the teenagers are not interested in classic works such as Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Now they are calling for radical new approaches to teaching the Bard's plays ñ such as using text messages.
The Department for Education and Skills has issued guidance to all schools saying they need to be more creative.
Sean Dickinson, the head teacher of Park Community School in Leigh Park, said using abbreviated text speak could help 14-year-olds express themselves better when learning Shakespeare's work for their Key Stage 3 Sat exams, which show how they are advancing in maths, English and science.
Mr Dickinson said: 'The core issue with Shakespeare is its place in Sat exams, which has become dull.
'Using technology like text messaging is one approach to fuel expression and creativity.'
Mr Dickinson's call comes after the number of Hampshire pupils reaching the desired reading standard in Key Stage 3 tests fell.
As standards in maths, science and writing continue to rise in Portsmouth and Hampshire, reading figures for Hampshire showed a two percentage point drop, with 71 per cent of pupils reaching the expected level five.
Neil Dewhurst, head of Neville Lovett School in Fareham, said: 'Modern developments like texting are here to stay and should be embraced. Young people can be very creative with texts. Shakespearean language will always be challenging. The job is to make it accessible.'
But some question how far using text messages for the Bard's work can go.
Shakespeare-lover Mark Courtice, director of the New Theatre Royal, said: 'I think if you just said to young people "Here's Shakespeare as a text" it might confuse them.
'Shakespeare is part of life and people's heritage and culture and I think he's been round long enough and is tough enough to take what's thrown at him.'
Below is how one of the most famous scenes ever, from Hamlet, would translate, with the original first:
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?
2 b, o not 2 b: dat iz d :-Q:
wthR tis nobler n d mind 2 suffer
d slings & ->s of outrageous 4tuN,
o 2 tAk arms agAnst a c of troubles,
& by opposing nd dem?