The Inspiring Helen Keller

The Inspiring Helen Keller
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.28

     challenging words:    capability, educational, helping, suffrage, founded, meningitis, beloved, lifetime, organization, inventor, spelled, marriage, pumped, equal, hearing, traveled
     content words:    Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller, Alexander Graham Bell, White House, President Grover Cleveland, Radcliffe College, American Foundation, Grover Cleveland, Lyndon Johnson, Presidential Medal

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The Inspiring Helen Keller
By Cindy Grigg

1     Caption: Helen, age 8, with Anne Sullivan
2     Helen Keller was born on June 27, 1880, in Alabama. In her first year and a half of life, she was much like other babies, happy and loved. Her family lived in a house that had been built by her grandfather. At a year old, she was learning how to talk. Then when Helen was just 19 months old, she got very sick. She had a high fever, probably scarlet fever or meningitis. There were no medicines to help her then. Her doctor and family thought that she might die. The fever went away, and her parents rejoiced. They thought she was well again. Then her mother realized that Helen did not react to sounds or lights. Her parents realized that the fever had caused Helen to become deaf and blind.
3     By the time she was six years old, she was an almost uncontrollable child. She smelled cake and grabbed a fistful of it. At dinnertime, she walked around the table grabbing food from everyone's plate, often knocking over their drinking glasses. She threw temper tantrums when she couldn't get what she wanted. She lived in a silent and dark world. She was aware of people around her but couldn't communicate with them beyond a few signs for things she needed. Her parents loved her but didn't know how to help her. Her mother knew they must find someone who could help Helen.
4     Her mother traveled with Helen from their home in Alabama to Baltimore to see a doctor she thought might help them. He sent them to meet with Alexander Graham Bell, the famous inventor of the telephone, who was working with deaf children at the time. Mr. Bell helped the Keller family find a teacher for Helen. Anne Sullivan, only twenty years old and with a sight disability of her own, came to live with the Kellers.
5     At first, Anne had a hard time with the undisciplined child. Helen often misbehaved and threw temper tantrums. Anne convinced the family to let her move Helen and herself into a small house on the family's property. Anne thought that Helen would have to learn to trust her and depend only upon her. Her parents finally agreed that Helen must go with Anne.

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