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READ: Helen Fairchild (Graphic Biography)

Helen Fairchild was an American nurse who volunteered for the First World War and gave her life for her country.
The Graphic Biography below uses “Three Close Reads”. If you want to learn more about this strategy, click here.

First read: skimming for gist

This will be your quickest read. It should help you get the general idea of what the graphic biography will be about. Pay attention to the title, headings, images, and layout. Ask yourself: what is this graphic biography going to be about?

Second read: understanding content

For this reading, you should be looking for unfamiliar vocabulary words, the major claim and key supporting details, and analysis and evidence. You should also spend some time looking at the images and the way in which the page is designed.
By the end of the second close read, you should be able to answer the following questions:
  1. Why did Nelle Rote’s classmate tell her that her aunt’s service in WWI didn’t count?
  2. What did Helen Fairchild do in the war?
  3. How did Helen Fairchild die?
  4. How is Fairchild honored today in the United States?
  5. Look at the arrangement of the four main panels in the center of the article. Now look at the “gutters”—the space between them. What shape does it make? Why do you think the artist chose that design?

Third read: evaluating and corroborating

In this read, you should use the graphic biography as evidence to support, extend, or challenge claims made in the course.
At the end of the third read, you should be able to respond to these questions:
  1. How does this biography of Helen Fairchild support, extend, or challenge what you have learned about how people thought and felt about the First World War?
  2. Compare and contrast Helen Fairchild’s decision to volunteer as a nurse to Rosa Luxemburg’s opposition to the war. With whose decision are you more sympathetic? Why?
Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to read! Remember to return to these questions once you’ve finished reading.

Helen Fairchild (Graphic Biography)

Writer: Trevor Getz
Artist: Liz Clarke
Helen Fairchild was an American nurse who volunteered for the First World War and gave her life for her country.
Download the Graphic Biography PDF here or click on the image above.

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