Who We Are

We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit best known for having originated the Shared Inquiry method of teaching and learning that has been a favorite of teachers and students for more than 70 years. We believe that literacy and critical thinking help form reflective, knowledgeable citizens equipped to participate constructively in a democratic society.

Our Mission

The mission of the Great Books Foundation is to advance the critical, reflective thinking and social and civic engagement of people of all ages through Shared Inquiry™ discussion of works and ideas of enduring value.

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Building a Brighter Future

We at the Great Books Foundation focus every day on facilitating thought-provoking discussions about ideas that really matter. Establishing meaningful conversations among diverse participants is central to our mission and has been the keystone of our work for over 70 years. Recent events have reiterated for us the importance of engaging with difficult and sometimes contentious issues, building community and civility, and ensuring that historically underrepresented voices are heard.

Happy father and his small daughter holding hands and running to school

New Discussion Series Exclusively for Educators

Please join us for the inaugural event in our new Shared Inquiry™ discussion series as we read and talk about Eve L. Ewing’s moving poem “At work with my father” from Junior Great Books® Series 6. Along with fellow educators, you can read and enjoy the poem, share your opinionsContinue reading

Five Essentials for Fostering More Inclusive Learning

Intentionally creating inclusive learning communities takes time and careful planning. These key elements of the Shared Inquiry™ method and Junior Great Books® build transferable lifelong learning skills: Listening Welcoming students’ questions, interests, and needs Sustained interaction Interpretive focus Wonderful, rich texts and objects of inquiry The more you and yourContinue reading

Great Books Chicago Online 2021

Participants drove the success of this first-ever online event! We held Great Books Chicago: Exploring Beauty online the weekend of February 26–28, 2021, and reviews were overwhelmingly positive. As participant Karen Hough said: Great Books Chicago is such a unique experience. I participate in many other classes and groups. NothingContinue reading


Junior Great Books Series 6–8

We are taking our mission beyond classrooms with a vision to build stronger, more innovative working and thinking communities, and activate influential leaders to foster positive change.

Junior Great Books Virtual AcademyTM

Virtual Academy Fall Sessions Now Enrolling!

Great Books Results Since 2010

Teachers Trained

Students Impacted

Schools Using Great Books