With the funds allocated to help students recover from the effects of the pandemic set to run out in 2024, districts and schools can use these funds for professional development and materials that promote literacy. The Great Books Foundation is a nonprofit organization that promotes literacy and lifelong learning through Shared Inquiry™ discussion. Our materials and professional development options help teachers and students engage in collaborative learning and critical thinking.


There are several ways that K–12 schools can use ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) COVID relief funds to pay for professional development and classroom materials from the Great Books Foundation. Here are a few examples:

  1. Introductory, Intermediate, and Advanced-Level Training: Schools can use COVID relief funds to pay for Great Books training for teachers and staff. We provide introductory, intermediate, and advanced-level training that shows teachers how to use the Shared Inquiry method of learning used to implement Junior Great Books® programs. In Great Books workshops, teachers learn new strategies for engaging students and promoting critical thinking. Depending on a school’s needs, the workshops can be conducted asynchronously, in-person, or online.
  2. Classroom Materials: Schools can use ESSR funds to purchase classroom resources from the Great Books Foundation. Junior Great Books materials for K–12 students have carefully selected anthologies of literary works, including poems, short stories, and essays from diverse cultures and authors. The materials promote critical thinking skills and social-emotional learning through Shared Inquiry discussions, encouraging students to ask thoughtful questions, listen actively, and consider different perspectives.
  3. Coaching: COVID relief funds can pay for coaching from Great Books Foundation training instructors. They coach teachers to help them implement the Junior Great Books curriculum and improve their facilitation skills. Coaches provide feedback on lesson plans, help teachers tailor their instruction to meet the needs of their students, and respond to any questions educators have about their individual program implementations.
  4. On-Demand Training: Schools can also use ESSR funds to pay for teachers to take our Shared Inquiry Essentials On-Demand Course. This course is self-paced and provides teachers with training that qualifies them to lead Junior Great Books in their classrooms. The course includes up to 10 hours of self-paced instruction in the following areas:
    • Introduction to Shared Inquiry
    • The Shared Inquiry Sequence of Activities
    • Experiencing Shared Inquiry
    • Leader Preparation 
    • Leading Shared Inquiry Discussion
    • Classroom Implementation

Use ESSER Funds Before They Run Out

Get in touch with us to plan professional development or select the right Junior Great Books materials for your setting! You can promote literacy and critical thinking skills among your students and support the growth and development of your teachers. Prioritize this investment to be better equipped to address the challenges posed in recent years and emerge stronger and more resilient as we all move forward.

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