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Biographies Unit Biographies

Helen Keller 1880–1968
A Woman of Courage

Helen Keller was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama. When she was a baby, she became very ill. The illness caused her to lose her hearing and sight. Some people thought this meant she would never be able to read or talk.

As a young girl, Keller did not know what words were because she never heard or read them before. She did not know the names of everyday things such as water because no one could tell her. It was hard for the young girl to let people know when she needed something because she did not know words.

That changed when Keller was seven years old. Anne Sullivan became her teacher. Sullivan taught language to Keller. Learning language was very exciting for Keller. For the first time in her life, she was able to read, write, and speak.

Keller worked hard to learn all she could and did very well in school. Later she went to college. She wrote many books about her life. She tried to help other people who were blind or deaf. During her travels around the world, Keller spoke about how she learned language and ways to teach people who are blind or deaf.

Comprehension Check

In what way did Helen Keller help other people?

Critical Thinking

Why do you think someone might say that Helen Keller had a lot of courage?