Getting On The Same Page

Reading Tutorial

Getting On The Same Page


How many times have you wondered, I will never be able to pass this course? Or perhaps, Why are those students always on top of their game in school, while I struggle on a daily basis? Once, twice, seldom?

Sample Problem

As an educator, Helen Keller personified the indomitable force of the human spirit to overcome hurdles despite adversity. To further explore this, provide an account of the challenges of an education in light of both actual or unsubstantiated notions of learning difficulty.


Helen Keller graduated from college in 1904. While that may not seem altogether unusual, in her case it was an accomplishment to marvel considering she was blind and deaf since early childhood. Only two years after her birth on June 27, 1880, Helen Keller was left in complete darkness and silence following an illness that left her without hearing nor sight. How much more tragic that would have been had she not talked at six months and walked unaided at twelve months, is ever more unsettling.

Her parents were fortunate enough to support the family, which included another sister and two stepbrothers, from their cotton plantation in Tuscumbia, Alabama. Her father, Arthur H. Keller, served as a Confederate Army captain during the Civil War and eventually as editor of the local newspaper, North Alabamian.

Being institutionalized would seem the only rational option, except that even at this point in life, Helen Keller was clever enough to befriend the daughter of the family cook. Together they developed a rudimentary form of sign language that carried them through playtime together.

For this reason, along with the efforts of many people that would enter her life; notwithstanding, her mother Katherine Adams Keller, a series of events led to the encounter with Anne Sullivan. A longstanding mentoring relationship began that would last nearly 50 years between teacher and pupil. Anne Sullivan was an educator at the Perkins Institute for the Blind in Boston, Massachusetts. Her arduous responsibility began by increasing the pupil’s vocabulary through a process of spelling words by pressing sign language letters onto one hand while placing the corresponding object in the other hand, repeatedly; until the connection between hand impressions and object were inextricably fused in the mind of the pupil.

At the age of 24, Helen Keller graduated top in her class at Radcliffe College. She accomplished this by mastering the communication techniques of finger spelling, touch-lip reading, and Braille. On the path to personal fulfillment, Helen Keller met notable figures: inventor Alexander Graham Bell, author Mark Twain, and Standard Oil executive Henry H. Rodgers; as well as, American industrialists Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and Henry Ford. Also, her scholarly contributions were recognized with a
Distinguished Service Medal in 1936 by President Theodore Roosevelt. Her social circles were not limited to Roosevelt, however; and subsequently garnered the admiration of the presidential administrations of Grover Cleveland through Lyndon B. Johnson. Equally impressive, was earning a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964 which preceded her election to the Women’s Hall of Fame in 1965.

In publishing, Helen Keller composed two novels that have been acknowledged by British Neurologist, Dr. Oliver Sacks, for their irrepressible exploration of the human consciousness in the unique experience of living with a double limitation. Her text, The World I Live In, has given unbridled insight into the human mind; whilst, The Story Of My Life is considered to be a classic of American Literature and autobiography. In public speaking, Helen Keller lectured with the assistance of an interpreter, allowing her to acquire an affinity as an advocate for those with disability or the disenfranchised, both nationally and internationally.

A distinguished list of academic institutions recognized her lifelong humanitarian effort with honorary degrees. They include: Temple University, Harvard University; the universities of Glasgow, Scotland (named Honorary Fellow of the Educational Institute of Scotland); from Berlin, Germany; in Delhi, India; and the Witwatersrand of Johannesburg, South Africa, to name just a fraction of her emblematic career highlights.

Helen Keller endured several debilitating strokes in 1961, finally passing away in her sleep on June 1, 1968. Though, only after a lifetime of personal, academic, and professional achievement; and by the support of a cadre of intellectuals. Her enduring legacy is scored onto the Alabama state quarter, having the distinct honor of being the only U.S. coin in circulation to feature Braille etching.

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