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Helen Keller

Born in 1880 - Died in 1968


Helen Keller<BR>
Helen Keller at the age of 19 months, (not quite 2 years old) was a happy, healthy child. She was already saying a few words.

Then she had a high fever which caused her to become deaf and blind. No longer could she see nor hear. She felt lost. She would hang on to her mother's skirt to get around. She would feel of people's hands to try to find out what they were doing. She learned to do many things this way. She learned to milk a cow and knead the bread dough.

She could recognize people by feeling of their faces or their clothes.

She made up signs with her hands so she could "talk" to her family. She had 60 different signs. If she wanted bread, she pretended to be cutting a loaf. If she wanted ice cream, she would hug her shoulders and shiver.

Helen was a very bright child. She became very frustrated* because she couldn't talk. She became very angry and began to throw temper tantrums.* The family knew they had to do something to help her.

They found a teacher named Anne Sullivan. Miss Sullivan herself had been blind, but had an operation and regained her sight. She understood what Helen was feeling.

She taught Helen the signs for the letters of the alphabet. Then she would "spell" the words in Helen's hand to communicate* with her.

picture2
Helen and her teacher Anne Sullivan

One day Anne led Helen to the water pump and pumped water on her hand. She spelled the letters W-A-T-E-R as the water ran over Helen's hand. She did this over and over again. At last it dawned on Helen that the word "water" meant the water which she felt pouring over her hand. This opened up a whole new world for her. She ran everywhere asking Anne the name of different things and Anne would spell the words in her hand. This was the key which unlocked the world for her.

She eventually stopped having the tantrums. Anne taught her for years. Helen learned to read Braille.* This was a system of raised dots representing letters. A blind person could read by feeling of the dots.

picture3
When she went to college, her teacher Anne went with her and tapped out the words of the instructors into her student's hand.

Helen had an amazing memory, and she also had skills very few people have ever been able to develop. She could put her fingers to a person's lips and understand the words which were being spoken.

While she was in college she wrote her book called "The Story of My Life". With the money she earned from the book she was able to buy a house.

She became famous and traveled around the world speaking to groups of people. She met many important and well-known people as she traveled.

Helen Keller was successful because of her determination. However, many people helped her. The most important person in her life was Anne Sullivan who stayed with her for 50 years.


This biography by Patsy Stevens, a retired teacher, was written in 2001.

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and when was it written?"
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Activities

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View a slideshow about Helen Keller

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Biography Slideshows

Dictionary

From Word Central's Student Dictionary
by Merriam - Webster

(Pronunciation note: the schwa sound is shown by ə)

frustrated, frustrate
Pronunciation: 'frəs-"trAt
...to prevent from achieving a goal...

tantrum
Pronunciation: 'tan-trəm
Function: noun
: a fit of bad temper

communicate
Pronunciation: kə-'myoo-nə-"kAt
Function: verb
... : to transmit information, thought, or feeling so that it is satisfactorily received or understood ...

braille
Pronunciation: 'brA(ə)l
Function: noun
Usage: often capitalized
: a system of writing for the blind in which letters are represented by raised dots [named for Louis Braille who developed the system]


Research Links

Helen Keller Archival Collection
American Foundation for the Blind

My Own Books
personalize an online story about Helen Keller
by inserting your name in the story

Braille Bug
children can learn about Braille at AFB

The Life of Helen Keller
from RNIB

Helen Keller Birthplace

Helen Keller
biography with audio version (part 1)

Helen Keller
biography with audio version (part 2)

Helen Keller (audio)
Engines of Our Ingenuity.

Helen Keller Lesson Plan
Lesson Snips.com
You must register to use any of the lessons. Limited free lessons.

A Poem by Helen Keller

Helen Keller
printable study page

English Lesson Plan on Helen Keller

Midstream My Later Life
online book by Helen Keller

At biography.com search for Helen Keller. Scroll the panel for the "Video & Audio Results".


Videos



There are many deafblind people in the world. There are 22,000 in Japan alone.

Satoru Fukushima who lives in Japan lost his right eye's sight at age three, then left at age nine. He also lost hearing when he was 18 years old. He became a professor at the University of Tokyo Highly-Advanced Science and Technology Research Center.

He and his mother invented the way to communicate by using fingers, the fingering Braille. It works like a Braille typewriter. His mother or an interpreter hit Satoru's finger the same way as typewriting.

(We say "Thank you" to a friend "chitoron" in Japan for sending us this information.)


Books
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Library

A LIBRARY OF
ONLINE BOOKS and BOOK PREVIEWS


Order the following books from Amazon.

The Story of My Life
by Helen Keller (public domain, 1921, full view) Order here

The World I Live In
by Helen Keller(public domain, 1920, full view) Order here

The Gordon Readers
By Emma K. Gordon (public domain, 1914, full view)

Johnson's Fourth Readers
By Henrietta H. Richardson, Nannie Clements, Louise Manly, Blanche Wynne Johnson,
Eugene Cunningham Branson (public domain, 1899, full view) Order here

The Wide Awake Fourth Reader
By Clara Murray (public domain, 1913, full view) Order here

Helen Keller
By Elizabeth MacLeod, Andrej Krystoforski (selected pages) Order here

Helen Keller
By David A. Adler (selected pages) Order here

Helen Keller, Photo-illustrated Biographies
By Muriel L. Dubois (selected pages) Order here

To Love This Life: Quotations of Helen Keller
By Helen Keller (selected pages) Order here

Helen Keller
By Christy Devillier (selected pages) Order here

Helen Keller: Out of a Dark and Silent World
By Sandra H. Shichtman (selected pages)

Helen Keller, In the Hands of a Child, Project Pack
(selected pages) Order here.

Helen Keller, Courage in Darkness
By Emma Carlson Berne, Marie Hodge (selected pages) Order here

Always Happy or the Story of Helen Keller
By Jennie Chappell (selected pages) Order here

How I Would Help the World
By Helen Keller (review) Order here

Helen Keller: rebellious spirit
By Laurie Lawlor (selected pages)

Helen Keller: Courageous Advocate
By Scott R. Welvaert, Cynthia Martin, Keith Tucker (selected pages)

Lives and Times Helen Keller
By Emma Lynch (selected pages)

Miss Spitfire: reaching Helen Keller
By Sarah Miller (selected pages)

A Picture Book of Helen Keller
By David A. Adler, John C. Wallner, Alexandra Wallner (selected pages)

Helen Keller
By Jane Sutcliffe (selected pages)

Helen Keller, History Maker Bios
By Jane Sutcliffe (selected pages)

Credits and Solutions

Pictures courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, and Corbis.com.

Puzzles on these pages courtesy of
Songs of Praise and Armored Penguin

* Word Match Solution

Page Comments
Most Recent Comments
See more comments about this page
2013-09-18
good info for my project
Evan
2013-05-23
love it! helen keller is awesome
Jakob Owings
2012-11-12
pretty good :)
2012-09-18
eh kinda helpfull
2012-06-14
I loved it!
Ishani Jemu
2012-06-14
I learned a lot from it. Love it!
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