Laura Bridgman: Deaf-Blind Pioneer
January 10, 2011 in Books With Social Studies Content, Chapter Books, Elementary Educators, Helping Girls and Women Around the World, Making Personal Connections, Reading Skills, Young Adult Novels Tags: biographies, chapter book, Children with Special Needs, sign language, special education
“Fifty years before Helen Keller, there was Laura Bridgman”–so reads the tagline for this book: She Touched the World: Laura Bridgman, Deaf-Blind Pioneer by Sally Hobart Alexander and Robert Alexander. Here are the facts about this book:
*Laura Bridgman is the subject
*Rating: This book is an award-winner!
Short, short summary: This book is the story of Laura Bridgman who is known as one of the first American deaf and blind children to get an education in English. Her teachers used tactile sign language and also words printed with raised letters corresponding to objects such as keys, spoons, and knives. The book includes several photos and quotes and spans Laura’s life from the time she is born to her death at 60 years of age.
So, what do I do with this book?
1. Before reading, ask students what they know about Helen Keller. Most children in 3rd-5th grades will have learned about Helen Keller before, but probably not Laura Bridgman. Explain the connection between the two to create interest in reading about Laura and her remarkable life and education.
2. Pioneer is a word that has many meanings, but most kids will think of it as the people traveling in covered wagons. After they finish reading about Laura Bridgman, ask them to write a paragraph with specific examples from the text of how she is a pioneer.
3. Ask students to compare and contrast a time they learned something with how Laura learns to communicate.