Great Books Foundation Celebrating 75 years

Help Us Continue a Tradition of Great Conversations

The Great Books Foundation began in July 1947 with a mission to promote lifelong education and civil discourse through the reading and discussion of outstanding literature. Today, we’ve extended that mission to people of all ages, and we facilitate the discussion of ideas expressed not only through literature, but in artwork and media of any form. We continue to innovate, amplifying ideas from diverse sources, as we create reading and discussion programs for students, teachers, and adult learners.

See what we are doing to celebrate our 75th anniversary!

Who We Are

We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit best known for having originated the Shared Inquiry method of teaching and learning. Our flagship K–8 program, Junior Great Books®, has been a favorite of teachers and students for more than 7 decades. 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.


Join the Conversation

View this video, featuring Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in Atlanta, Georgia, to see how Junior Great Books programs help students at all levels express their ideas, listen carefully to others, and create more collaborative, caring communities.

The Great Books Foundation’s Associate Board of Ambassadors is excited to bring you Sing It Forward, our virtual giving event featuring Reuters Entertainer of the Year Michael Cavanaugh. He will delight the audience with favorites from the American rock and roll songbook, and will take requests for songs in his vast repertoire!

Earn Shared Inquiry Badges with Great Books Training

We want to recognize your expertise in Shared Inquiry™ and make it simpler to share your achievements with others. Beginning this June the Great Books Foundation will issue a Shared Inquiry Leader digital badge to participants who complete the Shared Inquiry Essentials course.

In addition to the Shared Inquiry Leader badge, Great Books will be awarding badges that recognize higher levels of professional learning.

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!

What People Are Saying

Felicia Messina-D'Haiti

Junior Great Books Sparks Creativity and Communication

Felicia Messina-D’Haiti, the Manager of Academic Enrichment Programs for Washington, D.C. Public Schools, believes Junior Great Books® programs to be the “jumping off point” for students’ creativity. Messina-D’Haiti began teaching in DCPS in 2012, which is when she was first introduced to Junior Great Books and the Shared Inquiry™ method of teaching and learning.

Danielle Gladstone

Junior Great Books in Park Forest–Chicago Heights, Illinois

Danielle Gladstone, instructional coach at Park Forest-Chicago Heights School District 163, has been in education for 25 years. She holds a master’s in education administration and reading. She has dedicated many years to gifted education and won Economic Educator of the Year in 2016. Danielle was introduced to Junior GreatContinue reading

Celebrate Poetry Month with Junior Great Books

Celebrate April by Investigating Poetry Lesson Plans for Different Grade Levels

We have gathered a variety of lesson plans suitable for different grade levels to help you explore poetry with your students during Poetry Month. Each set of lesson plans has the full text of the poem or links to a reading or transcript, as well as Shared Inquiry™ activities appropriateContinue reading