Helen Keller and Louis Braille

One of the things I love the most about teaching is being able to use books to introduce young people to some of my own heroes. As a 6th grade teacher, I loved introducing my students to Ernest Shackleton. Last week, I pulled out two old favorite books to share with my 2nd graders: Helen Keller, by Margaret Davidson, and Louis Braille, also by Davidson. My 2nd graders listened breathlessly to Helen Keller’s story, and then asked a million questions. After hearing the story of Louis Braille, they debated with each other about who was more important — Helen Keller or Louis Braille.

Both books are perfect for this age group, and I was very pleased to overhear a conversation between some of my students on their way to recess yesterday. It went like this: “You guys run and ask Helen if she wants to play Helen Keller with us, since her name is Helen. I get to be Annie Sullivan, though.” On the other hand, when I called one of my boys up to my desk and asked him why he had covered his ears when I was giving instructions on an assignment, his answer was “Well, I was trying to see what it would be like to be like Helen Keller.” I suggested he try it out at recess instead of during math. But I’m pleased that they are all so taken by the stories!

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6 thoughts on “Helen Keller and Louis Braille

  1. Tara

    I had a very bad eye injury as a child and the doctors told my parents I might go blind at some point. I became obsessed with these two inspirational people and re-read their biographies over and over. Also tried to learn the braille on the back of the books since even then, I couldn’t imagine a like without books.

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  2. Robin

    Tara, that must have been a terrifying ordeal for you and your parents! Every day of sight since that time must feel like a gift, and your reading must be all that more precious to you. I can’t imagine a life without books, either.

    Thanks, Nan. It’s such a joy to be teaching this year, and I have such a fun group of kids.

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  3. Renee

    SO COOL! I’m a teacher too, and I know what you mean! It’s so cool to see the kids get excited about learning (even when they don’t know that’s what they are excited about!). Way to go, teach!

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  4. Bookfool

    When I was young, I had a bio of Helen Keller and I did the same thing as your student (at home) – covering my ears, closing my eyes and trying to imagine what it would be like to lack those senses. I ended up feeling simply awestruck. What an amazing woman she was — and what a terrific lesson for your students.

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  5. Robin

    Hi Renee, those moments are the joyful ones, aren’t they.

    Hi Bookfool. Although it’s true for all ages, Helen Keller’s story is such a powerful one for children. It’s the first time they’ve really thought about what it means to be able to see and hear and learn. I love introducing her to young people.

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