The literature in Junior Great Books® is rich and discussable, inspiring students from kindergarten on up to read carefully, think about the texts they read, and share what they find out with their classmates. Students are so excited to share their interpretations, in fact, that they often continue conversations beyond the classroom. Here’s what Jennifer Flannery, who works with K–5 students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, NC, shared with us recently:

Students take the skills they learn from respectfully debating in Shared Inquiry discussions and bring those skills into other content areas, the lunchroom, and the playgrounds—we are building social skills!

Teachers love using Junior Great Books because the interpretive activities for each story or text build in a logical progression to bring students into the selections. Whether they are using Junior Great Books Series K or 1 for the youngest readers, Series 6–8 for middle schoolers, or the fiction or nonfiction series for grades 2–5, each unit features:

  • Prereading activities that prepare students for the content they are about to read
  • Sharing questions, which gives teachers a great idea about what students find most interesting in a selection and enables the class to clear up simple misconceptions
  • Second reading activities that focus students’ attention on important aspects of a text
  • Shared Inquiry™ discussion, which enables students to voice their opinions and listen to others in a welcoming, collaborative environment
  • Postdiscussion writing activities appropriate for students’ grade levels

All of these features, from rich texts to absorbing activities, create an inquiry-based learning environment that both students and teachers enjoy. So please download one or more of the sample lesson plans here to learn more about Junior Great Books.

Junior Great Books Series K and 1

These series for kindergarten and first grade are interactive read-aloud programs focused on helping young learners develop three key Shared Inquiry skills—listening, wondering, and sharing. They provide the literature, challenge, and critical thinking elements essential for “best practice” early literacy instruction. This booklet contains two texts for you and your students to explore:

  • “Those Shoes,” a story by Maribeth Boelts
  • “The Land of Nod,” a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson

Junior Great Books Series 2–5

Junior Great Books programs combine high-quality literature, student-centered discussion, and activities that support reading comprehension, critical thinking, speaking and listening, and writing. Download this booklet to find the complete text and activities for “The Gold Coin” by Alma Flor Ada.

Junior Great Books Nonfiction Inquiry for Grades 2–5

The Junior Great Books Nonfiction Inquiry program for grades 2–5 brings high-quality nonfiction and student-centered discussion to your classroom while providing a superb framework for practicing reading comprehension, critical thinking, and writing. Download this booklet to see the unit overview, complete activities, and text for “Small Acts Make a Big Difference,” an engaging selection that describes the ways people in communities work together and profiles three different children who work to improve their communities.

Junior Great Books Series 6–8

This new series for middle school, first published in 2020, includes:

  • High-quality texts in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry: 10 stories, 8 nonfiction texts, and 2 poems at each grade level
  • In-depth reading, critical thinking, and writing activities
  • Note-taking options focused on author’s craft
  • Differentiated instruction for every core activity
  • Formal and informal assessment options
  • Teacher support and online resources

Download the sample lesson plans today and see the complete activities and texts for one nonfiction selection, “Friends of the Hide” by Timothy Egan, and the poem “At work with my father” by Eve L. Ewing!

Learn More

Would you like to implement Junior Great Books in your classroom? Contact your K–12 partnership manager to plan Shared Inquiry training and discuss the right classroom materials for your setting!