How did Helen Keller learn English?

Lifestyle Aug 11, 2023

Learning a new language can be a challenging and frightening task. It requires a great deal of patience and dedication. Pronunciation, grammar rules, vocabulary, and comprehension are some of the main areas that need to be focused on while learning a new language. It is important to practice consistently to achieve fluency. 

For Helen Keller, learning to read, write and speak was one of the hardest things she ever had to learn.

Who is Helen Keller and why is she so famous?

Helen Keller was a well-known American author and teacher who was both blind and deaf

That’s right, she was an author and teacher who could not see or hear. Her story is known worldwide because she was and still is the symbol of courage and hope for many people.

Was Helen Keller born blind and deaf?

No, Helen Keller was actually born with her sight and hearing still undamaged. Unfortunately, when she was 19 months old, she became blind and deaf due to an illness that was unknow, possibly meningitis or scarlet fever. This caused her to lose her sight and hearing, making it difficult for her to communicate with others and learn new things.

How did Helen Keller learn English if she was deaf and blind?

Helen Keller was taught English through her teacher, Anne Sullivan. Anne used fingerspelling, an effective learning method where she spelt words into Helen's hand to help her understand them. Sooner or later, Helen was taught how to read braille.

What is Braille and what is it used for? 

Braille is an arrangement of raised dots that can be read with the fingertips. This method is used by people who have a hard time seeing or are blind. Braille allows blind people to read books, write letters, and communicate with others. 

This was the method Anne used to teach Helen. Through regular practice and commitment, Helen was able to learn English and become fluent in reading, writing, and speaking despite her disabilities.

How did Helen Keller learn to speak if she was deaf and blind?

Helen learned how to speak by feeling the vibrations made by sounds. Helen’s teacher would place her fingertips on her throat, mouth, and nose while she was making different sounds. 

She would then instruct Helen to try to copy the sounds by recognising the different vibrations. This was a challenging task, but Helen practised this technique every day and eventually, she learned to link certain vibrations with specific sounds. With even more practice she was able to speak words and even say full sentences.

Fun fact, the first word Helen Keller learned to say was “water”.

If you ever feel discouraged about your English language learning, try to remember Helen Keller who was blind and deaf but managed to overcome all obstacles in her way!

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