Essays on the Radio
Essays From the 1950s Series
Browse by Theme
Browse Essays By Theme Use this feature to browse through the tens of thousands of essays that have been submitted to This I Believe. Select a theme to see a listing of essays that address the selected theme. The number to the right of each theme indicates how many essays have been tagged with that particular theme.
Essay Writing Guidelines
Discover how communities and schools in the United States and Canada are using This I Believe activities. Lewisburg, Pennsylvania Bucknell University has selected This I Believe as the first-year common reading for the Class of 2015. Over the summer, students will read the book and begin to reflect on the fundamental values that guide their lives. Then, starting with New Student Orientation and continuing through the fall semester, the incoming freshmen will explore what they believe and why, as individuals and as a community. Click here to learn more about Bucknell’s first-year common reading. Tallahassee, Florida At the Center for Intensive English Studies at Florida State University, a This I Believe project is helping ESL students develop their language skills by having them share life experiences that have shaped their beliefs. Assistant Director Ramin Yazdanpanah says, “This I Believe essays are an invaluable resource to our students for reading development and cultural awareness.” Click here and here to read essays by students from around the globe. Jefferson City, Missouri Students at the Simonsen Ninth Grade Center found their voices through a This I Believe essay project this spring. After writing their personal narratives, students made audio and video recordings of…
One of the goals of This I Believe is to facilitate a higher standard of active public discourse by inspiring people to reflect, encouraging them to share, and engaging them in a conversation about personal values and beliefs that can shape a life, a community, and a society. By inviting Americans of diverse backgrounds to participate in the series, we hope to create a picture of the American spirit in all its rich complexity. And writing a This I Believe essay is just the first step. We hope people will come together to discuss their essays in a respectful manner in the classroom, in book clubs, in places of worship, and other public spaces. To help you do this in your community, we offer the following tools: Discussion Guides This guide can help you engage a group of people in a moderated conversation about belief and values. It is appropriate for use in classrooms, civic clubs, libraries, senior centers, coffee shops, and other public venues suitable for respectful discussion. Contents include ground rules for structuring a dialogue, questions to launch the conversation, and tips for writing and sharing essays. Download the General Discussion Guide (PDF) Download the Discussion Guide for…
Houses of Worship
One of the goals of This I Believe is to inspire people to reflect, encourage them to share, and engage them in a conversation about personal values and beliefs. Houses of Worship provide a unique venue for such conversations. Discussion Guide Working with an interfaith group of pastors from the Louisville, Kentucky area, we have developed a House of Worship discussion guide that can help you engage a group of people in a moderated conversation about belief and values. Contents include ground rules for structuring a dialogue, questions to launch the conversation, and tips for writing and sharing essays. Download the Discussion Guide for Houses of Worship (PDF) (Requires Adobe Acrobat) Workshops and Speaking Engagements This I Believe’s Executive Producer Dan Gediman is available to speak to your House of Worship. We also offer a day-long belief-discernment workshop that culminates with all participants writing their own This I Believe essay and sharing it with the group. For more information, please contact us. Brochure and Poster To help spread the word about your This I Believe House of Worship activities, please download this free brochure and poster to promote the project and related activities happening in your congregation. The three-page brochure…
Essay Writing Guidelines
Thousands of teachers around the world—in every U.S. state and more than 50 countries—have embraced This I Believe as a powerful educational tool. Many have told us that our project was the most enriching writing assignment they have given in many years of teaching. If you have used This I Believe in any educational setting, we would love to hear from you. Resources for Using This I Believe with Students To help teachers guide students through exploring their beliefs and composing personal essays about them, we offer the following tools. Educational Curricula These educational curricula were designed to help educators guide students in the writing of a This I Believe essay appropriate for inclusion in school writing portfolios. The curricula help students understand the concept of belief, explore their own values, and craft them into a well-written essay. There are currently four curricula: Download the Middle School Curriculum (PDF) Download the High School Curriculum (PDF) Download the College Curriculum (PDF) Download the Lifelong Learners Curriculum (PDF) (All require Adobe Acrobat) Brochure and Poster for Use in the Classroom Download this free brochure and poster to promote This I Believe activities happening in your classroom. The three-page brochure measures 8.5 by 11…
Common Reading Programs
The practice of assigning students “common reading”—asking them to read the same book simultaneously—has gained popularity in recent years as secondary schools, colleges, and universities have sought new ways to enrich the campus experience. Like similar public reading initiatives sponsored by cities, libraries, and television shows, educational common reading programs rest on a simple idea: that reading the same book brings people closer together as a community by creating common ground for discussion. This I Believe books provide rich opportunities for students engaged in a common reading program. Reading a collection of This I Believe essays: • encourages students to read beyond textbooks. • enriches the campus community through exploration of personal values and beliefs. • raises awareness and tolerance of intergenerational and cultural likenesses and differences. • promotes civic discourse and critical thinking. • increases student-to-student interaction. • integrates an academic and social experience into the campus community. • appeals to both males and females. • has potential for strong programming opportunities beyond the reading experience, including writing, listening, and podcasting of personal essays. This I Believe and This I Believe II have been used in the following Common Reading Programs: All-School Read (Secondary Schools) • Cherokee High School (Marlton, N.J.) – 2011 • Kimball Union Academy…
Is there a deadline to submit essays? How long should my students’ essays be? How do I submit my students’ essays? How do I know you received my students’ essays? Will my students’ essays be posted on the This I Believe web site? Will my students’ essays be on public radio? May I make copies of essays to use in my classroom? How may I contact someone at This I Believe? Q: Is there a deadline to submit essays? A: No. We welcome student essays at any time. Q: How long should my students’ essays be? A: Between 350 and 500 words, or about three minutes when read aloud at a natural speaking pace. Q: How do I submit my students’ essays? A: Our preference for accepting essay submissions is through our online submission form. We are no longer accepting essays by U.S. Mail. If your students are under the age of 18, we ask that your students’ parents or guardians be involved in the submission process. Please direct parents to our web site if they wish to submit their child’s essay to our online Essay Collection. For Students Age 12 and under: It is the policy of This I…
This I Believe, Inc., was founded in 2004 as a not-for-profit organization that engages youth and adults from all walks of life in writing, sharing, and discussing brief essays about the core values that guide their daily lives. This I Believe is based on a 1950s radio program of the same name, hosted by acclaimed journalist Edward R. Murrow. Each day, Americans gathered by their radios to hear compelling essays from the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, Helen Keller, and Harry Truman as well as corporate leaders, cab drivers, scientists, and secretaries—anyone able to distill into a few minutes the guiding principles by which they lived. These essayists’ words brought comfort and inspiration to a country worried about the Cold War, McCarthyism, and racial division. (These essays are now featured in weekly broadcasts on Bob Edwards‘ satellite and public radio shows.) In reviving This I Believe, executive producer Dan Gediman says, “The goal is not to persuade Americans to agree on the same beliefs. Rather, the hope is to encourage people to begin the much more difficult task of developing respect for beliefs different from their own.” Selected contemporary This I Believe essays were featured in regular broadcasts on…
Please Note: This form should be used only to contact This I Believe. If you wish to contribute an essay, please use the Essay Submission Form. Also, before you try to contact us, please read over our frequently asked questions page, which may answer many of your questions. Thank you. [easy-contact] You may also contact This I Believe at: This I Believe, Inc. 2424 Frankfort Avenue Louisville, KY 40206-3513 (502) 259-9889
Executive Producer Dan Gediman is a long-time public radio producer whose work has been heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Fresh Air, Marketplace, Soundprint, Jazz Profiles, and This American Life—for whom he produced a profile of his brother, a Tom Jones impersonator, that has quickly become a public radio classic. During his 25-year radio career, Dan has won many of public broadcasting’s most prestigious awards for programs such as Breaking the Cycle: How Do We Stop Child Abuse and I Just Am Who We Are: A Portrait of Multiple Personality Disorder. He also worked with legendary radio playwright Norman Corwin to produce 13 by Corwin and 50 Years After 14 August, which won the duPont-Columbia Award. Gediman’s additional awards include the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Gold and Silver Awards and the National Federation of Community Broadcasters’ Silver Reel Award. Co-Producer John Gregory has worked in public radio for more than 20 years in programming, production, and marketing. His documentaries have explored environmental and agricultural issues, history, rural healthcare, workplace violence, and domestic abuse. His documentaries have been honored with the George Foster Peabody Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, and by Society of Professional Journalists and the…
Of all of life’s big questions, “What do you believe?” is one of the most important. And for many, the answer may be one of the hardest to actually put into words. By asking individuals to write and share their personal philosophies, This I Believe hopes to encourage people to express the core principles that guide their daily lives, and to develop acceptance of—and even respect for—beliefs different from one’s own. Dan Gediman is executive director of This I Believe, a non-profit organization that collects and shares these core personal philosophies of people from all walks of life. Dan is available for speaking engagements or to lead a workshop. Please contact us for more information. Speaking Engagements Offered First-Year Experience/All-School Read/Summer Read – Many incoming college freshman classes are asked to read a This I Believe book to prepare for the transition from high school to college. Many high schools and universities have chosen one of our books for an All-School Read or Summer Read, and then participate in writing and discussion activities after reading the books. A speaking engagement with Dan Gediman is a unique way to engage students after having read This I Believe or This I Believe…
Is there a deadline to submit an essay? No. We welcome your essay at any time. How long should my essay be? Between 350 and 500 words, or about three minutes when read aloud at your natural speaking pace. How can I improve my essay before I submit it? First, make sure your essay is framed in a concrete belief or conviction (we receive many wonderful essays that contain no statement of belief). Then, tell us a compelling story about how you came to hold that belief, or a time that belief was challenged, or how that belief shapes your daily activities. Try sharing one belief instead of composing a list of all of your beliefs. How do I know you received my essay? When you successfully submit your essay through our website, you will see an on-screen message that your essay was received. In addition, you should receive a confirmation email. Can I submit an essay via regular mail? We are no longer accepting essays by U.S. Mail. To have your essay included in our online Essay Collection, please submit your essay on-line. What happens to my essay after I submit it? A team of essay reviewers reads every…
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