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    The Secret Soldier

    The Secret Soldier

    by Ann McGovern

    The fascinating story of a young woman who disguised herself as a man and fought bravely for American independence during the Revolutionary War.

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    Paperback Book | Grades 3-5
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    Scholastic Book Guides: The Secret Soldier

    Scholastic Book Guides: The Secret Soldier

    Teaching with trade books is effective and manageable with Scholastic Book Guides—each guide has everything teachers need to build important skills for successful instruction in reading. Guides include:
    • Book summary and author information to build background and prior knowledge
    • Vocabulary-builders to help your students learn important word meanings for better comprehension
    • Discussion questions to deepen understanding, and build and check comprehension
    • Reproducible graphic organizers and writing activities to extend the meaning of the text
    • Effective management ideas for whole class, small group, and independent instruction.

    $3.24 You save: 35%
    eBook | Grades 3-5
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    Grades 3-5 $3.24
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The Secret Soldier

The Story of Deborah Sampson

Author: Ann McGovern

Illustrator: Harold Goodwin

Series: Scholastic Biography

Interest Level:

Lexile Framework:

Grade Level Equivalent:

Guided Reading Level:


Autobiography and Biography, Historical Fiction, Series

American Revolutionary War, Women's History and Experience, Historic Figures, Colonial and Revolutionary America

About This Book

In the late 1700s, there aren’t many choices for a young girl without a family. Fatherless Deborah Sampson has been sent away from home because her mother is too poor and sick to take care of her, and so for ten years Deborah works as a servant for Deacon Thomas and his family. She is too busy to go to school (not that schooling is considered very important for girls anyway), and she certainly cannot learn a trade - that sort of thing is also reserved for men only. At 18 years old, Deborah longs for a life of travel and adventure, and since this is forbidden most females, the ingenious Deborah gets the bright idea to enlist in the Continental army — disguised as a man!

Prolific author of many history books for children, Ann McGovern’s true story of this daring young woman will keep readers on the edges of their seats as they wonder when and if Deborah, now "Robert Shurtliff," will be discovered. Suspense mounts as Deborah keeps her identity a secret during long, difficult marches and bloody raids against the Tories. Her courage makes her a favorite among her fellow soldiers and even her commanding general takes special notice of her. Not until Deborah is wounded after a year and a half of service, does anyone suspect that there is something amiss with this brave and friendly soldier boy.

In the end, Deborah’s secret is revealed, and she is discharged from service with an excellent record. She goes on to marry a farmer and bear children, and after becoming a school teacher, decides to travel the country giving talks about her amazing experience as a male soldier during the Revolutionary War. Use this story as a personal, unique supplement to lessons about this critical time in American history.

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