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
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:
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.
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.
read the short introduction. This will give you more information
and some vocabulary that you will meet in the story.
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.
the story from beginning to end. Don't stop to look up any
new words. Try to understand the words without your dictionary.
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.
that you have read the story, write short answers to the
questions that you tried to answer before reading it (Discuss).
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.
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.
exercise will help you explore the different forms and uses
of some of the words in the story.
Tell the Story:
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.
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
Research and Write:
a paragraph or two about some topic in the story. Use an
encyclopedia or another book or go to the internet for information.
What Does This Mean to You?
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.
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