Pioneers on the Early Waterways Dyslexia Series

Pioneers on the Early Waterways Dyslexia Series Series Cover

A Special Series of Books for Children Who Struggle to Read

The rivers and lakes were the first highways of America. When the country was young, and roads had not yet been cut across the great swaths of wilderness, people could travel over the waterways faster and more efficiently than just about any other way. The first boats to carry people and goods were simple flatboats, but those could only go downstream, for they were too cumbersome to be moved against a current before the advent of the engine. Those were soon joined by keelboats, which were sleeker and could be poled or pulled upriver, although the effort to do so was often substantial.

The invention of the steam engine changed utterly the way in which passengers and freight were moved from place to place in this country. Creative and adventurous men began building boats that could be powered by steam, and steamboats began carrying loads of people and goods both down and up the rivers in much less time and with a fraction of the effort than any other boat had been able to do.

But the first steamboats were, frankly, dangerous, and it took a great deal of innovation to improve them and to make them the floating palaces that they ultimately evolved to become. Their use expanded from the major rivers to the Great Lakes and then, as they were further refined, into the smaller rivers as well. In fact, they were so useful that the U.S. government had a network of canals cut across parts of the eastern half of the country so that canalboats could do the same work in other areas—but without the necessity of fighting a current.

Even so, the Golden Age of the steamboat did not last long, for the technology that was powering them was powering something else as well. Steam locomotives were chugging their way across the country, and it wasn't long before tracks were laid down in areas that steamboats were unable to reach. Both steamboats and locomotives played critical roles in the fighting of the Civil War, but when the war ended, the locomotive had nosed its way past the systems of river transport, and the glory days of the steamboat ended. But the part it had played in opening the country was instrumental in the formation of the United States as we know it today.

This is a comprehensive ten-part series that explores all the ways in which early Americans used the country's waterways to get people and goods from one place to another, including by flatboat, keelboat, canalboat, and steamboat. These books are printed in a special dyslexia-friendly font that makes them easier for some children with visual processing problems to read. A special feature of the books is that each two-page spread contains a QR code that links to audio of the book being narrated. Children can listen and follow along to help them learn the words that they are seeing.

The Pioneers on the Early Waterways Dyslexia Series offers a way for children with reading difficulties to enjoy reading and American history in a rare and wonderfully accessible combination that they will treasure for years to come.

Note: Although each title is meant to be a standalone book, important terms are defined or explained in the first book in which they appear, and the stories build upon one another, making the reading of the books in chronological order a more rewarding experience for children who are new to the topic.

To view all of the Adventures on the American Frontier dyslexia series, click here.

To view a standard-font edition of the stories in this series presented together as a single biographical novel without the audio feature, click here.

A Special Series of Books for Children Who Struggle to Read

The rivers and lakes were the first highways of America. When the country was young, and roads had not yet been cut across the great swaths of wilderness, people could travel over the waterways faster and more efficiently than just about any other way. The first boats to carry people and goods were simple flatboats, but those could only go downstream, for they were too cumbersome to be moved against a current before the advent of the engine. Those were soon joined by keelboats, which were sleeker and could be poled or pulled upriver, although the effort to do so was often substantial.

The invention of the steam engine changed utterly the way in which passengers and freight were moved from place to place in this country. Creative and adventurous men began building boats that could be powered by steam, and steamboats began carrying loads of people and goods both down and up the rivers in much less time and with a fraction of the effort than any other boat had been able to do.

But the first steamboats were, frankly, dangerous, and it took a great deal of innovation to improve them and to make them the floating palaces that they ultimately evolved to become. Their use expanded from the major rivers to the Great Lakes and then, as they were further refined, into the smaller rivers as well. In fact, they were so useful that the U.S. government had a network of canals cut across parts of the eastern half of the country so that canalboats could do the same work in other areas—but without the necessity of fighting a current.

Even so, the Golden Age of the steamboat did not last long, for the technology that was powering them was powering something else as well. Steam locomotives were chugging their way across the country, and it wasn't long before tracks were laid down in areas that steamboats were unable to reach. Both steamboats and locomotives played critical roles in the fighting of the Civil War, but when the war ended, the locomotive had nosed its way past the systems of river transport, and the glory days of the steamboat ended. But the part it had played in opening the country was instrumental in the formation of the United States as we know it today.

This is a comprehensive ten-part series that explores all the ways in which early Americans used the country's waterways to get people and goods from one place to another, including by flatboat, keelboat, canalboat, and steamboat. These books are printed in a special dyslexia-friendly font that makes them easier for some children with visual processing problems to read. A special feature of the books is that each two-page spread contains a QR code that links to audio of the book being narrated. Children can listen and follow along to help them learn the words that they are seeing.

The Pioneers on the Early Waterways Dyslexia Series offers a way for children with reading difficulties to enjoy reading and American history in a rare and wonderfully accessible combination that they will treasure for years to come.

Note: Although each title is meant to be a standalone book, important terms are defined or explained in the first book in which they appear, and the stories build upon one another, making the reading of the books in chronological order a more rewarding experience for children who are new to the topic.

To view all of the Adventures on the American Frontier dyslexia series, click here.

To view a standard-font edition of the stories in this series presented together as a single biographical novel without the audio feature, click here.

Share this series

Davy Crockett and the Ring-Tailed Roarer

Subtitle: Pioneers on the Early Waterways, Part One

Author: A Royal Fireworks Press Publication; Tice, Christopher (Illustrator and Narrator)

Subjects: Boats; Dyslexia-Friendly Books; Transportation

Age: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Grade: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Pages: 31

ISBN: 978-0-89824-890-6

Order code: 8906

Price: $17.00
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 8906S

Davy Crockett and the Ring-Tailed Roarer Cover

Everyone knows the story of Davy Crockett at the Alamo, but Davy's story didn't begin in Texas. There's another story of Davy on the Ohio River as he floated along on a flatboat. The boatmen of the early 1800s had a hard life, and fistfighting was instrumental in proving how tough they could be. Davy soon learned that getting into a fight with a keelboatman—a self-proclaimed ring-tailed roarer—might seem like a fun sport, but when that ring-tailed roarer was a seasoned fighter, the outcome was likely to be painful.

Everyone knows the story of Davy Crockett at the Alamo, but Davy's story didn't begin in Texas. There's another story of Davy on the Ohio River as he floated along on a flatboat. The boatmen of the early 1800s had a hard life, and fistfighting was instrumental in proving how tough they could be. Davy soon learned that getting into a fight with a keelboatman—a self-proclaimed ring-tailed roarer—might seem like a fun sport, but when that ring-tailed roarer was a seasoned fighter, the outcome was likely to be painful.

Davy Crockett and the Ring-Tailed Roarer Cover

Davy Crockett and the Ring-Tailed Roarer sample pages:

Steam Fights the River

Subtitle: Pioneers on the Early Waterways, Part Two

Author: A Royal Fireworks Press Publication; Tice, Christopher (Illustrator and Narrator)

Subjects: Steamboats; Dyslexia-Friendly Books; Transportation

Age: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Grade: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Pages: 39

ISBN: 978-0-88092-890-8

Order code: 8908

Price: $17.00
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 8908S

Steam Fights the River Cover

"Steam isn't strong enough to push a boat upriver," people said to Nick Roosevelt when he unveiled the first steamboat on the Ohio River. But Mr. Roosevelt had designed the boat carefully, and he was sure it would work. For its maiden voyage, the New Orleans was to go down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to its namesake city, turn around, and go back upriver, against the current. No one thought it could be done. Then Mother Nature put a twist on the story, making the outcome even more uncertain.

"Steam isn't strong enough to push a boat upriver," people said to Nick Roosevelt when he unveiled the first steamboat on the Ohio River. But Mr. Roosevelt had designed the boat carefully, and he was sure it would work. For its maiden voyage, the New Orleans was to go down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to its namesake city, turn around, and go back upriver, against the current. No one thought it could be done. Then Mother Nature put a twist on the story, making the outcome even more uncertain.

Steam Fights the River Cover

Steam Fights the River sample pages:

Henry Shreve’s New Steamboat

Subtitle: Pioneers on the Early Waterways, Part Three

Author: A Royal Fireworks Press Publication; Tice, Christopher (Illustrator and Narrator)

Subjects: Steamboats; Dyslexia-Friendly Books; Transportation

Age: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Grade: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Pages: 23

ISBN: 978-0-88092-891-3

Order code: 8913

Price: $15.00
Website price: $8.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $6.00 each.
Order code: 8913S

Henry Shreve’s New Steamboat Cover

Henry Shreve was not the first person to build a steamboat. In fact, a man named Mr. Fulton had been building them for a few years by the time Henry set out to build his. Henry believed that the design of the boats could be improved, and he wanted to build a better version, even though everyone laughed at him and told him that his ideas would never work. His determination and conviction paid off, and the Washington became the prototype for future Mississippi River steamboats.

Henry Shreve was not the first person to build a steamboat. In fact, a man named Mr. Fulton had been building them for a few years by the time Henry set out to build his. Henry believed that the design of the boats could be improved, and he wanted to build a better version, even though everyone laughed at him and told him that his ideas would never work. His determination and conviction paid off, and the Washington became the prototype for future Mississippi River steamboats.

Henry Shreve’s New Steamboat Cover

Henry Shreve's New Steamboat sample pages:

Mrs. Trollope's Trip to Memphis

Subtitle: Pioneers on the Early Waterways, Part Four

Author: A Royal Fireworks Press Publication; Tice, Christopher (Illustrator and Narrator)

Subjects: Steamboats; Dyslexia-Friendly Books; Transportation

Age: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Grade: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Pages: 35

ISBN: 978-0-88092-891-5

Order code: 8915

Price: $17.00
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 8915S

Mrs. Trollope's Trip to Memphis Cover

Frances Trollope was a famous English writer who published an account of her travels throughout America when the nation was still young. Part of her journey was by Mississippi River steamboat—an experience that she recorded faithfully in her notes as she observed what river travel was like in the late-1820s from the point of view of a woman. Her book was read far and wide after it was published, and it gave a new perspective on American culture.

Frances Trollope was a famous English writer who published an account of her travels throughout America when the nation was still young. Part of her journey was by Mississippi River steamboat—an experience that she recorded faithfully in her notes as she observed what river travel was like in the late-1820s from the point of view of a woman. Her book was read far and wide after it was published, and it gave a new perspective on American culture.

Mrs. Trollope's Trip to Memphis Cover

Mrs. Trollope's Trip to Memphis sample pages:

Shipwrecked by a Buffalo

Subtitle: Pioneers on the Early Waterways, Part Five

Author: A Royal Fireworks Press Publication; Tice, Christopher (Illustrator and Narrator)

Subjects: Steamboats; Dyslexia-Friendly Books; Transportation

Age: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Grade: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Pages: 28

ISBN: 978-0-89824-892-0

Order code: 8920

Price: $15.00
Website price: $8.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $6.00 each.
Order code: 8920S

Shipwrecked by a Buffalo Cover

Missouri River steamboat pilot Joe LaBarge was a friendly man who wanted to give his ship's mate John, an Englishman, a taste of American adventure. So when his steamboat puffed near a herd of buffalo, Joe ushered John into a rowboat and set out to capture one of the huge beasts as they swam across the river. John had never lassoed an animal before, so he was thrilled when his rope settled over one of the animals' heads. The buffalo, however, had other ideas.

Missouri River steamboat pilot Joe LaBarge was a friendly man who wanted to give his ship's mate John, an Englishman, a taste of American adventure. So when his steamboat puffed near a herd of buffalo, Joe ushered John into a rowboat and set out to capture one of the huge beasts as they swam across the river. John had never lassoed an animal before, so he was thrilled when his rope settled over one of the animals' heads. The buffalo, however, had other ideas.

Shipwrecked by a Buffalo Cover

Shipwrecked by a Buffalo sample pages:

Jim Garfield, Canalboatman

Subtitle: Pioneers on the Early Waterways, Part Six

Author: A Royal Fireworks Press Publication; Tice, Christopher (Illustrator and Narrator)

Subjects: Canals; Boats; Dyslexia-Friendly Books; Transportation

Age: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Grade: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Pages: 43

ISBN: 978-0-88092-892-2

Order code: 8922

Price: $17.00
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 8922S

Jim Garfield, Canalboatman Cover

Young Jim Garfield wanted to be a sailor on the high seas. He had to settle for mule driver for a canalboat instead. No one wanted a landlubber like him, and he learned soon enough that he could get his feet wet even working on a canalboat—literally. But he was a good worker with a good sense of humor, both of which stood him well. In the end, however, he had to make a decision: Was the life of a boatman—of any kind—the life he truly wanted to lead?

Young Jim Garfield wanted to be a sailor on the high seas. He had to settle for mule driver for a canalboat instead. No one wanted a landlubber like him, and he learned soon enough that he could get his feet wet even working on a canalboat—literally. But he was a good worker with a good sense of humor, both of which stood him well. In the end, however, he had to make a decision: Was the life of a boatman—of any kind—the life he truly wanted to lead?

Jim Garfield, Canalboatman Cover

Jim Garfield, Canalboatman sample pages:

Ralph Keeler, Cabin Boy

Subtitle: Pioneers on the Early Waterways, Part Seven

Author: A Royal Fireworks Press Publication; Tice, Christopher (Illustrator and Narrator)

Subjects: Steamboats; Dyslexia-Friendly Books; Transportation

Age: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Grade: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Pages: 48

ISBN: 978-0-89824-893-7

Order code: 8937

Price: $17.00
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 8937S

Ralph Keeler, Cabin Boy Cover

Oh, how little Ralph Keeler wanted to work on a lake steamer! His parents had died, and he had fond memories of riding a steamer to his relatives' home across Lake Erie. No one, however, seemed to want to give him a chance. He was too young and too small. So imagine his excitement when a kind-hearted steward decided to make him a cabin boy! There was just one problem, and it had to do with the awful rolling and tossing and rocking of the boat.

Oh, how little Ralph Keeler wanted to work on a lake steamer! His parents had died, and he had fond memories of riding a steamer to his relatives' home across Lake Erie. No one, however, seemed to want to give him a chance. He was too young and too small. So imagine his excitement when a kind-hearted steward decided to make him a cabin boy! There was just one problem, and it had to do with the awful rolling and tossing and rocking of the boat.

Ralph Keeler, Cabin Boy Cover

Ralph Keeler, Cabin Boy sample pages:

Sam Clemens: From Cub to Pilot

Subtitle: Pioneers on the Early Waterways, Part Eight

Author: A Royal Fireworks Press Publication; Tice, Christopher (Illustrator and Narrator)

Subjects: Steamboats; Dyslexia-Friendly Books; Transportation

Age: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Grade: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Pages: 58

ISBN: 978-0-88092-893-9

Order code: 8939

Price: $17.00
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 8939S

Sam Clemens: From Cub to Pilot Cover

Many people know that Mark Twain was really a man named Sam Clemens and that he chose that term as his pen name from his time as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River. But not many people know how Sam learned to pilot a steamboat. It was all thanks to a man named Horace Bixby, the pilot who trained Sam, but not without a great deal of frustration and irritation. Sam learned what to do at last, and he ultimately discovered that his skill could save lives.

Many people know that Mark Twain was really a man named Sam Clemens and that he chose that term as his pen name from his time as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River. But not many people know how Sam learned to pilot a steamboat. It was all thanks to a man named Horace Bixby, the pilot who trained Sam, but not without a great deal of frustration and irritation. Sam learned what to do at last, and he ultimately discovered that his skill could save lives.

Sam Clemens: From Cub to Pilot Cover

Sam Clemens: From Cub to Pilot sample pages:

Buffalo Bill Rides the Far West

Subtitle: Pioneers on the Early Waterways, Part Nine

Author: A Royal Fireworks Press Publication; Tice, Christopher (Illustrator and Narrator)

Subjects: Steamboats; Dyslexia-Friendly Books; Transportation

Age: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Grade: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Pages: 35

ISBN: 978-0-89824-894-4

Order code: 8944

Price: $17.00
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 8944S

Buffalo Bill Rides the Far West Cover

Captain Grant Marsh was working on a steamboat in Montana when Buffalo Bill joined his crew in the effort to fight Native Americans in the Indian Wars. After a day of puffing up the Powder River, the general on board needed information from their base camp, and there was only one man who could make the trip across such treacherous terrain in the dark. Buffalo Bill was going to have to risk his life for his government, but he was up for the task.

Captain Grant Marsh was working on a steamboat in Montana when Buffalo Bill joined his crew in the effort to fight Native Americans in the Indian Wars. After a day of puffing up the Powder River, the general on board needed information from their base camp, and there was only one man who could make the trip across such treacherous terrain in the dark. Buffalo Bill was going to have to risk his life for his government, but he was up for the task.

Buffalo Bill Rides the Far West Cover

Buffalo Bill Rides the Far West sample pages:

Race of the Lee and the Natchez

Subtitle: Pioneers on the Early Waterways, Part Ten

Author: A Royal Fireworks Press Publication; Tice, Christopher (Illustrator and Narrator)

Subjects: Steamboats; Dyslexia-Friendly Books; Transportation

Age: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Grade: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Pages: 24

ISBN: 978-0-88092-894-6

Order code: 8946

Price: $15.00
Website price: $8.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $6.00 each.
Order code: 8946S

Race of the Lee and the Natchez Cover

The Robert E. Lee and the Natchez were luxurious passenger steamboats that were set to race from New Orleans to St. Louis in a fierce competition. Captain Leathers on the Natchez seemed to have the faster boat, but Captain Cannon of the Lee had a few tricks up his sleeve to try to give him an advantage—one that he knew he would need. Both boats were racing toward the finish line, their boilers red hot, their paddlewheels churning the Mississippi River furiously. Who would win?

The Robert E. Lee and the Natchez were luxurious passenger steamboats that were set to race from New Orleans to St. Louis in a fierce competition. Captain Leathers on the Natchez seemed to have the faster boat, but Captain Cannon of the Lee had a few tricks up his sleeve to try to give him an advantage—one that he knew he would need. Both boats were racing toward the finish line, their boilers red hot, their paddlewheels churning the Mississippi River furiously. Who would win?

Race of the Lee and the Natchez Cover

Race of the Lee and the Natchez sample pages:

Pioneers on the Early Waterways Dyslexia Series Set

Author: A Royal Fireworks Press Publication; Tice, Christopher (Illustrator and Narrator)

Subjects: Boats; Steamboats; Dyslexia-Friendly Books; Transportation

Age: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Grade: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Order code: 8906SET

Price: $140.00
Website price: $75.00

Pioneers on the Early Waterways Dyslexia Series Set Cover

This set includes all ten books in the series: Davy Crockett and the Ring-Tailed Roarer; Steam Fights the River; Henry Shreve’s New Steamboat; Mrs. Trollope’s Trip to Memphis; Shipwrecked by a Buffalo; Jim Garfield, Canalboatman; Ralph Keeler, Cabin Boy; Sam Clemens: From Cub to Pilot; Buffalo Bill Rides the Far West; and Race of the Lee and the Natchez, all offered together at a reduced price.

This set includes all ten books in the series: Davy Crockett and the Ring-Tailed Roarer; Steam Fights the River; Henry Shreve’s New Steamboat; Mrs. Trollope’s Trip to Memphis; Shipwrecked by a Buffalo; Jim Garfield, Canalboatman; Ralph Keeler, Cabin Boy; Sam Clemens: From Cub to Pilot; Buffalo Bill Rides the Far West; and Race of the Lee and the Natchez, all offered together at a reduced price.

Pioneers on the Early Waterways Dyslexia Series Set Cover

You are viewing Home-based Switch to school-based