The Great Thanksgiving Listen

The Great Thanksgiving Listen

The Great Thanksgiving Listen is a national movement that empowers young people—and people of all ages—to create an oral history of the contemporary United States by recording an interview with an elder using the free StoryCorps App.

Interviews become part of the StoryCorps Archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Now in its third year, The Great Thanksgiving Listen has grown from an experimental challenge issued by our founder, Dave Isay, into a vital intergenerational movement. To date, thousands of high schools from all 50 states have participated and preserved more than 75,000 interviews, providing families with a priceless piece of personal history.

Join the Movement

Honor someone important in your life by interviewing them for The Great Listen 2017. Help us create a culture of listening that echoes across the nation.

    Download the free StoryCorps App and create a login so you can access your interviews later within the StoryCorps Archive.


    Select your interview partner and prepare a set of great questions within the app or from our Great Questions list.
    Have a conversation. Find a quiet place to sit, follow the prompts in the app to begin recording, and let the conversation flow! Remember to sit close together and make eye contact.
    Share and archive your interview. Create a title and summary, and use descriptive keywords that answer the classic who, what, when, and where questions and this year’s keyword TheGreatListen2017. Share a selfie from your interview, and make sure to tag us with @StoryCorps #TheGreatListen!

Who is this assignment for?
The Great Thanksgiving Listen was developed for high school students to interview an elder and contribute their voices to the Library of Congress, but anyone with a smartphone and an interest in storytelling can participate. We actively encourage people of all ages to download the free StoryCorps App. Use it to create your own unique oral history with an elder or loved one in your life.

For Teachers & Educators

StoryCorps provides a Teacher Toolkit with multimedia resources, lesson plans, and an app guide to support you in bringing this assignment to classrooms, after-school programs, or any context where young people are learning. We hope these multimedia pages and downloadable materials will provide you with an educational framework to support young people as they learn to interview, record, and listen to the stories of their elders.

No need to wait until Thanksgiving! The Great Listen lesson plans and multimedia resources can be implemented in your classrooms throughout the fall, or anytime of year. Begin by reading the Start Here section, reviewing the lesson plans, and downloading the free StoryCorps App.

Connect directly with other educators and StoryCorps staff in our StoryCorps in the Classroom Facebook group, and find answers to your technical support questions in our Help Center.

Educators: Sign Up for the Great Listen

I am a   Teacher   Student   StoryCorps Fan

The Printable Placemat

Set the Table for Listening
It’s the connections they’ll remember more than the centerpiece or the stuffing. Download and print the official 2017 Great Thanksgiving Listen placemat, in whatever quantity you need, and you’ll have a sampler platter of StoryCorps Great Questions closer than the salt shaker. Use them as ice-breakers around the table, then after the meal find a quiet place and record your interview with the free StoryCorps App.

Download Printable PDF (size: 8.5″
x 11″)

About the App

Launched with support from the 2015 TED Prize and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the StoryCorps App is a global platform for listening, connecting, and sharing stories of the human experience. The app takes the StoryCorps experience out of the booth and puts it entirely in the hands of users, enabling anyone, anywhere to record conversations with another person and then easily archive them at the Library of Congress and on our website. Since its debut, nearly a quarter-million people have taken part in an interview using the Storycorps App.

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Each week, the StoryCorps podcast shares unscripted conversations, revealing wisdom, courage, and poetry in the words of people you might not notice walking down the street.

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