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

The Role of Art in a Troubled World

Great Books recently concluded our 75th-anniversary adult discussion group. Our group had the pleasure of delving into the role of art in a troubled world by discussing the following works: “To a Locomotive in Winter” by Walt Whitman, “The Unknown Masterpiece” by Honoré de Balzac, The Federalist Papers, no. 10 by James Madison, “The Daughters of the Late Colonel” by Katherine Mansfield, “The Minister’s Black Veil” by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Two Blaine Students Reading for fun in the classroom

Five Reasons to Get Caught Reading—for Fun!

May is Get Caught Reading Month, a time for bibliophiles to celebrate their love of all things reading. It is also a time to raise awareness about the advantages of indulging in literature—reading for pleasure and not just for work or school. Here are some reasons why reading what youContinue reading

Blaine students reading to each other

Five Ways to Use Shared Inquiry to Support Mental Health Awareness

Schools and districts strive to be proactive and engage in activities promoting and supporting mental health awareness. Academic stress, peer pressure, and social media can impact students’ and teachers’ mental health. All of us are facing increasing stress, anxiety, and other mental health challenges, so it is essential to haveContinue reading