Women's History
Sharon Draper

Sharon Draper
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 12
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   10.07

     challenging words:    expressway, Kathadaza, impulsive, assured, encouraging, portrayal, continuation, dialogues, storyline, thereafter, asset, avid, best, bullying, straight-A, winning
     content words:    Sharon Draper, Catherine Mills, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Once Sharon, Kathadaza Mann, National Merit Scholar, Pepperdine University, Miami University, Larry Draper, Robert Washington

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Sharon Draper
By Jamie Kee

1     Writer and educator Sharon Draper is a recognized, award winning author who has entertained readers and impacted the lives of her own students as well as those around the world. Although she started her career as a teacher, she eventually moved on to writing as a full time career. Regardless, Draper still considers herself a committed professional who will never stop being an educator.
2     Sharon Draper was born in 1952 in Cleveland, Ohio, the oldest child of Victor and Catherine Mills. Her father worked as the head waiter of a hotel, while her mother worked for the Cleveland Plain Dealer as a classified advertising manager. From an early age, little Sharon was exposed to books. Books were located throughout the house. Catherine Mills would read to her three children every night. Once Sharon began school, she was an obvious bookworm. She described herself as someone who "inhaled books and knowledge." Sharon learned quickly that in her childhood home, education was an important asset. All the children knew the importance of studying, working hard, and setting goals. According to Draper, "When I was a little girl, my parents saw me, and my brother and sister, as one of those bright flames of possibility. It never even occurred to me not to do well, not to continue to shine."
3     When Sharon was in elementary school, she was a straight-A student who tackled almost all the books in her school library. She began to consider teaching as a possible career. Sharon grew up teaching anyone or anything she could find, from the kids in the neighborhood to her dogs and her dolls. When she reached fifth grade, Sharon was especially influenced by her teacher, Mrs. Kathadaza Mann, who taught Black history in the classroom as well as art, music, and classic literature. Sharon looked upon her fifth grade teacher as a role model.
4     As Sharon continued her education, she moved into advanced and honors classes. When she completed high school, Sharon was a National Merit Scholar graduate. Because of her success, she received a scholarship which she used to attend Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. She graduated in 1971 with an English degree and a job offer at the university. Sharon decided, however, to return to Ohio to work on her master's degree at Miami University of Ohio. She received her degree in 1974. Sharon also met and later married Larry Draper. During their marriage, they had four children.

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Women's History
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United States
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