Students prepare for the “Great Thanksgiving Listen” with their grandparents
Students prepare for the “Great Thanksgiving Listen” with their grandparents Gabriella Rinehart interviews great-grandmother Mae Ridge on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, in the kitchen of Ridge's home in Leitersburg, Md. (AP Photo/David Dishneau)
Students prepare for the “Great Thanksgiving Listen” with their grandparents
Lexile: 860L

Assign to Google Classroom

The sage advice "listen to your elders" has new meaning for thousands of kids this Thanksgiving.
After weeks of classroom training, they're prepared to interview a grandparent or elder. They will be posing questions such as, "How would you like to be remembered?" or "Has your life been different from what you imagined?"
Then they share those intimate conversations with the world through an unmatched effort conceived by the nonprofit oral history project StoryCorps.
StoryCorps president and founder Dave Isay calls it the "Great Thanksgiving Listen." It is a unifying moment for the nation. He hopes to double the 65,000 audio recordings StoryCorps has collected since 2003 in one long weekend.
"This is for future generations to hear," Isay said. "It's a gift to be listened to in this way. And it's a gift to share your story and wisdom."
The recordings are stored in a publicly accessible archive.  It is at the Library of Congress' American Folklife Center in Washington. Recordings made for the Thanksgiving project can be heard on  It's a website that also contains the free smartphone app students will use to record and upload their interviews.
Gabriella Rinehart is a senior at Washington County Technical High School in Hagerstown, Maryland.  She plans to interview her 89-year-old great-grandmother, Mae Ridge.
"She's lived through a lot of big changes in U.S. history," Rinehart said.
Rinehart's teacher is Carol Mowen.  She hopes her students will be "overwhelmed by the power of the story." That's how Mowen said she often feels listening to edited versions of StoryCorps interviews.  They are aired weekly on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition."
"As an English teacher, that's what we live for," she said.
In Chicago, Yuliza Ruiz plans to interview her older brother, Emilio.  She wants him to talk about his decision to join the Marines.
"I want to ask him about his goals," she said.
Some kids already have posted interviews, which can run up to 40 minutes long. Listening to them is like eavesdropping on conversations that can enlighten and surprise.
Claude Gange, of Warwick, Rhode Island, said he and his wife Camille told their 13-year-old granddaughter, Lauren Bonner, things they never shared with her before. He told her about the last time he saw his mother alive in Brooklyn.  It was two days before she was killed by a car.
The conversation deepened his relationship with his granddaughter, said Gange. He is a retired school administrator. "I'm not just a grandfather. I'm a person."
Annabelle Tipps, of Henderson, Texas, interviewed her mom, Deborah. She learned how her mother and her siblings dealt with their parents' divorce.
"A lot of questions led to questions that opened up a lot of doors that I didn't even know were there," said Annabelle, 14.
Annabelle's advice to others: "Just do 'em before you forget or before it's too late because they're really cool and it's something you can have forever."

Source URL:

Filed Under:  
Assigned 38 times
What is gained by recording the voices of older people instead of merely writing down their words?
Write your answers in the comments section below

  • ellaholick-bak
    12/08/2015 - 07:43 p.m.

    I love when you can have things forever

  • John0724-YYCA
    12/08/2015 - 09:24 p.m.

    I think people should listen to their elders or at least hear what they are trying to say because you never know what kind of good things they can give you. Also you can know what their time was like because they can give you tips about history and cool advise about life.

  • addisonsoly-
    12/11/2015 - 10:20 a.m.

    You can interview someone and record it and it goes on a website for the whole world to see. It's helps kids learn things about their elders that they didn't already know. I think it would be cool to do this but I wouldn't watch any of them because it sounds boring to sit and listen to an interview for 40 minutes.
    CTQ-It's easier to talk about your experiences then write them down, not everyone is a writer.

  • jademoly-
    12/11/2015 - 10:22 a.m.

    People made something called StoryCorps where you interview the elderly and record it for anyone to hear. It really helps show that younger people care about the elderly and their thoughts and opinions.
    CTQ- It is better to record the voices of older people instead of just writing down their words because listening has a greater impact and people tend to pay attention more when they hear things more than read.

  • lances-fel
    1/04/2016 - 02:13 p.m.

    What is gained by recording the voices of older people instead of writing it down is you can hear the passion in the elder's voice. Like when you hear a story that just makes you want to know more you can feel the passion coming from the persons voice.

  • callans-fel
    1/04/2016 - 02:14 p.m.

    What is gained by hearing the voices of older people instead of just their words gives you the way they talk. The way they pronounce their words may be different than the way we pronounce ours. It also will let you remember what they said better.

    llamas with hats

  • ethanb-1-fel
    1/04/2016 - 02:14 p.m.

    You cannot hear the passion of the speaker through writing, this is why there is so much gained from this ,you hear a lot from the speakers voice.

  • brooklynk-fel
    1/04/2016 - 02:14 p.m.

    By recording the voices of older people instead of writing their words down, you can hear their elders' emotion on the recording.

  • mattv-fel
    1/04/2016 - 02:14 p.m.

    It has a greater effect. It's as if you're having a conversation with a person from the past. It's better then sitting there and writing responses to questions written on paper.

  • calaabj-fel
    1/04/2016 - 02:15 p.m.

    what is gained is the way they tell it their pastion for what their talking about.

Take the Quiz Leave a comment