OPRAH WINFREY - ?· ©2009-2011 abcteach.com OPRAH WINFREY Oprah Winfrey is a television personality.…

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  • 2009-2011 abcteach.com


    Oprah Winfrey is a television personality. She is most famous for her eponymous television program, The Oprah Winfrey Show. The show is watched in several countries around the world, has won many awards, and is the most-watched talk show in history. Oprah Winfrey is also known as a cultural trendsetter and a philanthropist.

    Oprah Winfrey was born on January 29, 1954, in Kosciusko, Mississippi, to Vernita Lee and Vernon Winfrey. Raised at first by her grandmother and then later by her mother, Oprah grew up in poverty. Despite the familys financial difficulties and many other emotional challenges, Oprah learned to read before she was three, mastered public speaking at an early age by reciting aloud in church, and did very well in school. At the age of fourteen, Oprah went to live with her father in Nashville, Tennessee. She was an excellent student, especially in speech and drama, and won a full scholarship to Tennessee State University.

    While still in high school, Oprah started working at a radio station. She became the youngest and first black female news anchor at Nashvilles WTVF-TV station in 1972. She moved to Baltimore in 1976, and was a co-anchor at WJZ-TV for two years. She was hired to host the stations chat show People Are Talking in 1978. Oprah became the host of AM Chicago in 1983. The show was renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1986. Winfrey established Harpo Productions (Harpo is Oprah spelled backwards) and signed a syndication deal.

    The Oprah Winfrey Show was initially a casual talk show. Winfrey was praised for her empathetic manner and her genuine humor. The show gradually changed in format, and began addressing more serious issues, though Winfreys understanding approach to her guests remained constant. This appealed to a wide audience: the show is now the highest rated talk show in the United States, and the longest running. As the show increased in popularity, Winfrey became a cultural icon. She is considered one of the most influential women in the world.

    In addition to her television program, Winfrey is an actress (nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in The Color Purple), a publisher (O magazines), an author (five books), a website, and more. She is also a noted philanthropist, giving more money to charity than any other celebrity does.

  • Reading Comprehension/Biography Name______________________________________________________Date_______

    2009-2011 abcteach.com

    ANSWER THE QUESTIONS ABOUT OPRAH WINFREY: 1. Which of the following parts of her childhood is most directly related to

    Winfreys adult success? a. growing up poor b. being born in the 1950s c. learning to speak aloud in church d. moving to Nashville

    2. Which sentence best summarizes Winfreys life as presented?

    a. She rose from difficulty to extreme success. b. She went from television to radio to books. c. She is very rich. d. None of the above.

    3. What does the word eponymous mean?

    a. unpopular b. with the same name c. failed d. musical

    4. The article says Winfrey is an actress, publisher, author, and more.

    Which is the most likely other job that she has? a. She owns a chain of hotels. b. She manages a chain of restaurants. c. She has a satellite radio channel. d. She runs a training program for journalists.

    5. Which is the best definition of philanthropist?

    a. a person who supports charities b. a person who is rich c. a person who watches Dr. Phil d. a person who has had many different jobs

  • Reading Comprehension/Biography Name______________________________________________________Date_______

    2009-2011 abcteach.com

    Use complete sentences to answer the questions below.

    1. Describe an experience or situation in your life that is similar to Oprah succeeding despite hardship and setbacks.

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2. From the way it is used in the article what do you think is the meaning of

    empathetic? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 3. What do you believe will be the impact or result of Oprah donating so much

    money to charity? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 4. Imagine hosting your own new talk show. Describe what you would do and feel. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    5. What do you understand differently after reading about Oprah Winfrey? How will you use this information in the future?


  • Reading Comprehension/Biography Name______________________________________________________Date_______

    2009-2011 abcteach.com

    Answers to OPRAH WINFREY Multiple-choice 1. c 2. a 3. b 4. c 5. a


    1. (Answers may vary, accept reasonable answers.) 2. Empathetic = able to understand the feelings of others 3. (Answers may vary, accept reasonable answers.) 4. (Answers may vary, accept reasonable answers.) 5. (Answers may vary, accept reasonable answers.)