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Presidents of the United States
Theodore Roosevelt



Theodore Roosevelt
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 8 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.06

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    violation, unconventional, potent, sickly, corrupt, margin, hailed, viscount, serving, shopkeeper, steward, diplomatic, honest, motto, proverb, weakness
     content words:    George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, New York City, When Teddy, Harvard University, Alice Lee, New York State Legislature, North Dakota, Edith Carow


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Theodore Roosevelt
By Mary L. Bushong
  

1     If George Washington defined the Presidency of the 18th century, and Abraham Lincoln defined it for the 19th century, one man also defined it for the 20th century. That man was Theodore Roosevelt.
 
2     He was born in New York City on October 27, 1858. He was part of a wealthy family, but as a child young Teddy was very sickly. His severe asthma and poor eyesight kept him from attending school as other children did. In spite of that, he developed a strong interest in natural history.
 
3     When Teddy was thirteen, he was bullied by two boys while on a trip. He was unable to defend himself and knew he did not want that to happen again. He took boxing lessons and eventually became good enough to be part of the Harvard University boxing team. Teddy also worked hard to overcome his physical weakness through regular exercise.
 
4     Roosevelt's health was improved by taking a yearlong trip to Europe. When he returned at age fifteen, he began working with a tutor to study to go to Harvard. Upon graduation, he married Alice Lee. Then in 1881, he was elected to the New York State Legislature. He was respected for his opposition to corrupt party politics.
 
5     February 1884 was a bad time for Teddy. His wife died after the birth of their daughter, and his mother also died the same night. After finishing his term in the legislature, he went to his ranch in the Badlands of North Dakota to grieve. While there, he herded cattle and hunted. After two years, he married his childhood friend Edith Carow, and settled down in their home in Oyster Bay, where they raised his daughter and their five children together.
 
6     Roosevelt returned to politics in 1889 and moved to Washington, D.C. to become the Civil Service Commissioner. Then in 1895, he became the police commissioner of New York City. He tried to put an end to corruption in the police force. He would often walk the streets of the city in the middle of the night with Jacob Riis. Jacob wrote a book on what he saw called "How the Other Half Lives." It opened the eyes of the people to the suffering of the very poor. Not everyone liked Roosevelt's efforts. While an honest and energetic man, he was not very diplomatic.
 
7     In 1897, he accepted a post as assistant Secretary of the Navy. Roosevelt saw that a war with Spain was coming, and he started making preparations. He raised the First United States Volunteer Cavalry Regiment and his men were called Rough Riders. He was hailed as a hero after the daring charge on Kettle Hill in Cuba. When he returned home in 1898, he was elected the Governor of New York.
 
8     The Republican Party boss was afraid of Roosevelt's gift for publicizing himself and his unconventional politics. To stop him from running for President, they made him President McKinley's running mate.
 
9     As it turned out, Teddy Roosevelt was not the Vice President very long. By the time the regular session of Congress began, McKinley had been assassinated, and Roosevelt had become President. He was 42 years old and the youngest man ever to serve in that office.

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