Robert Cormier

Robert Cormier
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 9 to 12
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.3

     challenging words:    thomson, triple-decker, edwards, teachable, faculty, award-winning, pseudonym, freelance, largely, nomination, profanity, freshman, reading, banning, rosary, writing
     content words:    Robert Cormier, Lucien Joseph, Irma Margaret, French Hill, Parochial School, Leominster High School, Fitchburg State College, Worcester Telegram, Constance Senay, Fitchburg Sentinel

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Robert Cormier
By Jamie Kee

1     From an early age, Robert Cormier dreamed of becoming a writer who published at least one book. Not only did his dream come true, but he also succeeded well beyond his expectations. Cormier, who became a successful, well-respected author, wrote many books for young adults and adults. He never liked his books classified for a certain age group, however. He wanted people of all ages to enjoy his works.
2     Cormier was born on January 17, 1925. He began his life in the small town of Leominster, Massachusetts. His parents were Lucien Joseph and Irma Margaret, and he was one of eight children. Cormier's father was a factory worker. The family home, a triple-decker house, was in French Hill, the French-Canadian section of Leominster. Unfortunately, the family had to move often because of the Depression and the need to find affordable rent. However, regardless of their frequent moves, they never lived more than a few miles from the house in which Cormier was born. He lived in Leominster throughout his childhood and adult life.
3     During his elementary years, Cormier attended St. Cecilia's Parochial School, a private Catholic school. There were countless events at this school, both positive and negative, that impacted his life. In sixth grade he wrote his first poem after being encouraged by a nun. This experience encouraged Cormier to consider becoming a writer. In eighth grade, Cormier saw his family's triple-decker home on fire from his classroom window. Sadly, the nun did not allow him to leave in order to check on his family until he recited on the rosary. Fortunately, no one in his family was hurt. However, this experience caused Cormier to feel bitterness towards the church.
4     Cormier attended Leominster High School as he continued his writing. After graduating in 1942, he attended Fitchburg State College. During his freshman year, one of Cormier's teachers read one of his stories and encouraged him to complete another one, which Cormier quickly did. Without his knowledge, the teacher sent the story to a magazine. It got published, and Cormier received seventy-five dollars.
5     After college, Cormier got his first job in 1945 at the Worcester Telegram and Gazette radio office where he wrote news briefs and advertisements for two years. In 1948 he began working as a reporter and did this until 1955. He also married Constance Senay in 1948. During their marriage they had four children. From 1955 until 1959, Cormier worked as a reporter for the Fitchburg Sentinel. He then became the wire editor from 1959 until 1966. He held the position of associate editor from 1966 until 1978. In 1969 he was asked to start writing a human interest column. He did this under the pseudonym John Fitch. In 1973 Cormier won the K.R. Thomson Newspaper Award for his column. In 1959 and 1973, he was awarded the best human interest story of the year, which was chosen by the Associated Press. Until his death, Cormier continued to do freelance writing for the paper from 1978 until his death in 2000.

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