Course Description

Nonfiction Reading-II (Famous Heroes and Other True Stories) offers copious amounts of nonfiction and technical reading to second-level students of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. The following stories are included. Some images are clickable.

The Story of Anne

Anne Frank
Marie Frank

On 10 May 1940, the armies of Germany's Third Reich invaded the Netherlands. Within four days, Germany had taken complete control of the country. With increasing cruelty, the German invaders made life miserable for the Dutch Jewish population. Ten-year-old Anneliese Marie Frank endured two years of the German occupation of the Netherlands before finally succumbing to its brutality.

This photograph is courtesy of the Anne Frank Stichting (Foundation) Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Please visit their lovely illustrated Web site by mouse-clicking on the picture or on the following address:

Germany After World War 2

West German Flag East German Flag
West German Flag and East German Flag

Germany suffered greatly towards the end of World War 2. Then, in 1945, the War in Europe was over; but for Germany, hardships were to continue for many years. For in 1949, Germany was partitioned. And between 1949 and 1990, Germany existed as two countries—the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). For forty years, German people were not allowed to pass freely between their two countries. This is the story of the difficult partitioning of Germany into West and East and its final reunification in 1990.

The Great Balloon Escape
Parts 1 and 2

The Strelzyks and The Wetzels The Great Balloon
The Strelzyks and The Wetzels and their Great Balloon

During the time of the partition of Germany, many people fled from East to West to find a better living—even at the risk of their lives. The Great Balloon Escape is the story of two East German families, the Strelzyks and the Wetzels, and their unusual escape from the oppression of their country in a giant balloon of many colors.

The Flight of a Space Shuttle

Space Shuttle
Shuttle Launch

A space shuttle is a special kind of flying vehicle that takes off like a rocket, travels in space like a satellite, and lands on a runway like an airplane. Between take-off and landing, it performs several kinds of tasks and experiments in space. Read this story to learn how it travels to space, performs its work, and then returns to earth. This shuttle image is courtesy of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The Last Flight of
The Challenger

The Challenger Seven
The Challenger Seven.

This is the story of the last flight of the Challenger Space shuttle, which exploded on 28 January 1986 at 72 seconds into its flight. This official photograph of the Challenger Seven is courtesy of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Questions and Answers
about Volcanos

Erupting Volcano

Have you ever wondered why volcanos happen and why they are so dangerous? Read Questions and Answers About Volcanos to find the answer to these questions. University of South Dakota Photograph.

The Story of
Mount St. Helens

Mount St. Helens Before Eruption Mount St. Helens Two Years After Eruption
Mount St. Helens before and after eruption

At 8:30 on the morning of 18 May 1980, in the Washington north woods; the north side of the graceful, elegant Mt. St. Helens blew apart with all its fury turning an entire green valley into a field of mud within a few seconds. These exquisite Photographs were taken by Harry Glicken and Lyn Topinka for the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Story of
the Pony Express

William Russell William Waddell Alexander Majors
Russel, Waddell, and Majors

On 3 April 1860, William Russell, William Waddell, and Alexander Majors established an upstart mail service in the United States whereby a letter could be delivered from St. Joseph, Missouri to San Francisco, California in only ten days. It was called the Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company—most people just called it the Pony Express.

The three thumbnail portraits above are courtesy of Mr. Tom Crews of the Pony Express Homestation. Mouse-click on any one of the portraits to read a fascinating and tragic biography of the respective gentleman.

The Story of Bob Haslam, Pony Express Rider

Bob Haslam
Bob Haslam

Pony Bob Haslam, one of the most colorful and daring of the Pony-Express riders, is credited with having made the longest and most dangerous trip of the Pony Express on record. This is his story. This portrait is courtesy of Tom Crews' Pony Express Home Station at

Samuel Morse and His
Electromagnetic Telegraph
Parts 1 and 2

Samuel Morse Alfred Vail
Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail

Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail streamlined long-distance communication in the United States by building an electromagnetic telegraph and a code system of dots and dashes. This is their story. The image of Morse is a Betman Archive print; The Vail image is courtesy of Historic Speedwell/Morris County Park Commission.