Foreword to the teacher

This book with its readings and activities is intended to improve all of your students' English language skills. The "User's Guide," written for the students, explains each step of the work and the many skills involved. This reader also offers some important American history, focused on significant individuals and issues. The readings are intended to be provocative, to start students thinking critically, and to stimulate constructive discussion and writing. Although the language in this book is controlled, the history is full of challenges that are important to our lives today.

How can we make history exciting for students who are new to both our culture and language? To complement Heroes from American History, Anne Siebert has written a book of short plays titled Celebrating American Heroes. These plays tell the stories of thirteen of the heroes in this reader in a way that dramatically brings them to life and makes everyone involved in the plays care more about them and the history they were involved in. Although these two books can be used independently, they are designed to be used together.

Celebrating American Heroes is a play book with the script for each play. In each, the cast includes three or four major characters, a narrator, and a chorus, which comments on the action and interacts with the hero like the chorus in a Greek drama. All the students in class can be actively involved in reading or putting on their play.

A recording of a dramatic production of the plays is available for listening and pronunciation practice, and there is a teacher's guide with photocopyable activities.

Three of the stories in this reader are not supported with plays. These are the stories on Eleanor Roosevelt, Maya Ying Lin, and the Ordinary Citizen. If your students have been working with the other plays, they can be encouraged to work together to write and produce plays of their own based on these three stories.

Using both the plays and this reader, students will practice all their language skills, increase their vocabulary, and gain an appreciation for some of the most important issues and interesting individuals from American history.

User's Guide for the Student
The people in these stories did important things in the history of the United States at different times, in different places, and in different ways. Each of them worked hard on some problem or challenge that they and the country faced as it grew from thirteen English colonies on the east coast into a nation of fifty states with many millions of people from all the countries of the world.

These people faced great difficulties and in some cases danger, and they found ways to overcome them. In doing so, they made important contributions to history, and so we call them heroes. Their stories are real.

By reading these stories and doing the exercises, you will both learn some American history and improve your English. You will increase your vocabulary and practice speaking, listening, reading and writing.

Each unit in this book has 13 parts:
1. Discuss: Before reading, look at the picture and the map. Think and talkabout what you already know about the hero. This will prepare you for the reading.
2. Read: First read the short introduction. This will give you more information and some vocabulary that you will meet in the story.
3. Answer: Working with a classmate, answer the first group of questions.
Use information you learned in the discussion and the intro- ductory reading. Now you are ready to read the story.
4. Read: Read the story from beginning to end. Don't stop to look up any new words. Try to understand the words without your dictionary.
5. Answer: After each story there are ten comprehension questions. Try to answer them without looking at the story. Don't worry if you can't answer all of them correctly. After you answer the questions, go back to the story to find the answers. This will help you understand the story better. Keep a record of your score on page 134. As you go through the stories, you will probably get more and more correct answers. This will show your progress.
6. Write: Now that you have read the story, write short answers to the questions that you tried to answer before reading it (Discuss).
7. Timeline
In this exercise you can use your understanding of the story by putting the events of the story in the correct order, from first to last. Go back to the story to check your answers. Do this alone or with a partner.
8. New Words: Choose nine words from the story. Look for words that you don't know. Compare your list with your classmates' lists. Working together, choose several words that nobody knows. Ask your teacher to help you understand these words. Later you can look up the words on your list.
9.Working with Words: This exercise will help you explore the different forms and uses of some of the words in the story.
10. Tell the Story:  Now tell the story to a partner without looking at it and listen as your partner tells the story, or you can each tell half of the story.
 11. Test Yourself: Read the story again. This time some of the words have been left out. From memory, write in the missing words. If you are not sure, guess. Then compare your answers with a partner's. If you disagree, go back to the story. Sometimes you may like your word better than the word in the story. Ask your teacher for an opinion. Perhaps you're right. By now you know the story very well
12. Research and Write:  Write a paragraph or two about some topic in the story. Use an encyclopedia or another book or go to the internet for information.
13. What Does This Mean to You?  The heroes in these stories helped humanity in many different and important ways. What is your personal feeling about their accom- plishment? A stamp or some other memento of the hero is shown. Is it meaningful to you? Express your feelings in a journal.
It is best to start with the first story and read the stories one after another. This will help you learn the history of the United States. In the 19th Century stories, there is a timeline for each story. On page 135 there is a 20th Century timeline. These timelines will help you connect the stories to each other. The final story, "The Ordinary Citizen," is a long summary that can be used as a review of all the heroes. There are several summary activities at the end of this story.

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