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I originally read this book because of my 11 year old daughter’s recommendation. She needed to study the book for her Battle of the Books competition and I thought I would attempt to read along with her.
Author: Sarah Miller
Genre: Historical fiction/youth
Summary: This historical fiction account of Annie Sullivan’s years with Helen Keller was fascinating. I believe that I have only seen short clips from “The Miracle Worker” and was trying to incorporate memories from that old movie with the account in this short book. Overall, I highly enjoyed the book!
Overall rating: 4/5
Quotes to ponder:
“But words, Mrs. Keller, words bridge the gaps between two minds. Words are a miracle.” (chapter 6)
“‘D-o-l-l’, I translate for the captain. ‘She’s teaching the dog to spell!'”
Questions (and my answers… please add your answers in the comments):
1 – How do you feel about Annie’s behavioral methods?
As much as I wanted to hate her methods and the cruel things that she was doing, part of me really wondered if the harsh methods are what Helen really needed. I have seen students in the past where everything needed to be business, they did not take things seriously if they were said in a soft or loving way.
2 – Do you see any advantages/disadvantages to teaching sign via finger spelling only?
I could not understand why Annie taught Helen everything with finger spelling unless that is the only sign that Annie knew. We do not teach children to speak by spelling every word. In fact, spelling comes years after speech. I’m sure that the finger spelling eventually helped Helen learn to read and write with ease, but bothered me from the beginning because it seemed non-developmental.
3 – Do you feel that Helen’s progress was very slow, as Annie felt?
Repeatedly Annie states that Helen’s progress was very slow, or that she had expected more from her by now. My jaw would drop every time that I read this opinion. The progress that Helen made was amazing and one of a kind. I’ve never seen a child progress that much in years, let alone weeks!
In the comments below, please answer the questions with your thoughts. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts about this book!
Book club books for 2017:
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