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Matthew Henson



Matthew Henson
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.52

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    membership, teaching, eisenhower, citation, youth, successful, valuable, survey, attempt, gain, literature, trust, biography, arctic, honorary, autobiography
     content words:    Matthew Henson, Robert Peary, North Pole, Janey Moore, Captain Childs, Katie Hines, South America, Cape Henson, Canadian North West Territories, On February


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Matthew Henson
By Mary L. Bushong
  

1     As long as people have been on the earth, there have been explorers. There was always another river to cross, a mountain to climb, or an ocean to sail. Who would have thought that Matthew Henson, a poor black youth, would become a key figure in helping Robert Peary reach the North Pole?
 
2     Matthew was born in Maryland on August 8, 1866. When he was about eight years old, his father died and left him with his stepmother, Nellie. She would often beat him and his brothers and sisters. When he was eleven, he finally ran away from home. Making his way to Washington, D.C., he was taken in by Janey Moore, a café owner. She took care of him and gave him a job. Soon one of the local sailors filled his mind with stories of sea adventures, and Matthew became a sailor.
 
3     When he was twelve, Matthew became a cabin boy for Captain Childs on the ship Katie Hines. Capt. Childs took an interest in Matthew; teaching him about literature, math, and how to navigate on the sea. They stayed together until 1885, when Captain Childs died. Matthew drifted from city to city, doing odd jobs for two years before returning to Washington, D.C.

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