The Birth of a Storyteller
Jackie Torrence spent her childhood in North Carolina, in the southern part of the United States. She was a shy child because she had problems with her teeth, which made it hard for her to talk. Other children teased her because of her speech problem, so she spent much of her childhood playing alone. One of Jackie’s favorite games was to pretend she was on television. She told stories out loud using gestures and dramatic voices. At school, Jackie soon learned that she was good at writing stories, and with the help of her favorite teacher, she started to work on improving her speech.
Jackie’s first storytelling performance was in a library. She was working as a librarian and was asked to entertain a group of children. Jackie told them a story and they loved it! Before long, she began telling stories within her community. Many of her stories came from old American and African-American folktales. Eventually, she started telling stories across North America.
As Jackie’s fame increased, her health decreased. She now has to use a wheelchair, but this has not stopped her storytelling career. Jackie’s stories have been published in books, magazines, and newspapers and she has appeared on radio and television. She has won awards for nine of her sound recordings and three of her television specials.
Adapted from NorthStar 3: Listening and Speaking, 2nd Edition (Longman, p57), Helen S. Solórzano and Jennifer P. L. Schmidt
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Jackie Torrence became a storyteller ____ chance. When she was working as a librarian, she was asked ____ tell a story ____ a community event. Eventually, she continued telling tales ____ 47 states in the U.S.
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