Inventors and Inventions
Thomas Edison: The Wizard of Menlo Park

Thomas Edison: The Wizard of Menlo Park
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.1

     challenging words:    transmitter, telegraph, hearing, perspiration, better, viewer, grid, achievement, automatic, reading, carbon, slate, mathematics, telegram, government, loss
     content words:    Thomas Edison, Thomas Alva Edison, Tom Morse, Western Union Corporation, New York, Menlo Park, New Jersey, Edison General Electric Company, General Electric Corporation, West Orange

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Thomas Edison: The Wizard of Menlo Park
By Mary L. Bushong

1     Have you ever had ideas for inventing new things or of making old things better? If you have, you could be like Thomas Edison.
2     Thomas Alva Edison was born in Milan, Ohio on February 11, 1847. Known as "little Al" to his family, he did not speak at all until he was almost 4 years old. Once he began to speak, he constantly asked questions about how everything around him worked.
3     When he started school at age 7, he asked his teacher so many questions that the man no longer wanted him in the class. Tom's mother decided to teach him at home. There he learned about reading, writing, and math from his mother, while his father taught him to read classic stories. When he read all the books at home, his parents took him to a library where he could read even more.
4     Tom loved to learn about science, especially engineering, physics, and mathematics. When he was 14, he began to lose his hearing, but he didn't let that bother him. He found that he could use his loss of hearing to help him concentrate. Eventually, he lost all the hearing in his left ear and 80% of the hearing in his right ear.
5     One day Tom saved a child from being run over by a train. As a reward, the child's father taught Tom Morse code and how to use the telegraph. By the time Tom was 15, he was working as a telegraph operator. When he was 16 he came up with his first real invention. It was an automatic repeating device. If there were no one in the office when a telegram came through, this device would automatically send the telegram on.

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