The Great Books Foundation creates inquiry-focused reading and discussion programs for grades K–8 that are proven to increase students’ academic achievement. In our Shared Inquiry™ method of learning, students and teachers participate in civil discourse by collaboratively exploring questions of enduring value in grade-appropriate works. By combining thought-provoking texts with open-ended questioning, we build and strengthen student competencies that directly align with The Four Principles of Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education.

The chart below shows how each of the activities used in our Junior Great Books® materials and the Shared Inquiry method of learning connect to the The Four Principles of Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education as outlined and adopted in multiple states.

Junior Great Books and Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education

A multi-ethnic group of school children are indoors in a classroom. They are sitting on the floor and eagerly listening to their teacher read a storybook.
The Four Principles of Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Great Books Foundation’s Methodology, Training, and Curriculum
  1. Welcoming and Affirming Environment
Great Books method and materials support a welcoming and affirming environment by:

  • Including rich texts that represent a variety of races, cultures, backgrounds, and time periods
  • Providing multiple ways to participate and share responses in activities (e.g., text-to-self connections, or interpretive activities)
  • Emphasizing listening to other’s ideas and responding with civility
  • Encouraging students to come to well-reasoned and personally satisfying conclusions that combine ideas and evidence
  1. High Expectations and Rigorous Instruction
Great Books method and materials support high expectations and rigor by:

  • Offering multiple opportunities and ways for students to express and develop their ideas
  • Including activity options that make critical thinking about challenging texts accessible to all students
  • Offering space for students to reflect, expand, and change answers
  • Including explicit instruction in how to respond constructively to other students’ ideas
  1. Inclusive Curriculum and Assessment
Great Books method and materials support inclusivity by:

  • Inviting students to assess themselves and participate in metacognitive reflection, which allows flexibility for differentiation
  • Including rich texts that represent a variety of races, cultures, backgrounds, and time periods
  • Encouraging participants to come to their own well-reasoned and personally satisfying conclusions through Shared Inquiry activities
  1. Ongoing Professional Learning
Great Books method and materials support ongoing professional learning by:

  • Offering access to consultation sessions (both in person and online) that provide teachers with individualized opportunities for coaching and problem solving
  • Holding advanced courses that address specific instructional needs, giving teachers the flexibility to differentiate their professional development based on students’ needs.

Want to Learn More?

To learn more about how implementing Junior Great Books can help you incorporate Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education into your classrooms, please email  danielle.martin@greatboooks.org or contact your Great Books K–12 partnership manager!