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Before Helen Keller

Many people know about Helen Keller, a deaf and blind woman whose struggle to communicate was immortalized in her 1957 autobiography, The Story of My Life. Keller’s book was made into several movies and adapted for the stage, making Keller a well-known figure. But few people have heard of Laura Bridgman, a woman who learned to overcome the loss of four of her five senses 50 years earlier than Keller. Listen to hear more about how one young woman, with disabilities similar to Keller’s, overcame great adversity.


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Story Length: 6:13

Listen to the Story:

Listening Comprehension Questions

  • In what ways did Andrew Carnegie’s libraries serve their communities?
  • How did Carnegie benefit from a library when he was growing up?
  • Which personality traits helped propel Carnegie from poverty to riches? Bring specific details from the story to support your ideas.
  • According to Carnegie, what should rich people do with their money and why? Why was Carnegie known as both generous and “brutal”?

Discussion Themes

  • In your opinion, what should really rich people do with their fortunes?
  • What does it take for a person to rise from “rags to riches”?

Socrative users can import these questions using the following code: SOC-1234

Listening Organizers

  • Fact, Question, Response

  • Language Identification Organizer

  • Deeper Meaning Chart