Looking to meet wide-ranging student needs?
Because students have complex and shifting learning needs, it can be challenging to find materials that meet them all. Ensuring that every student has abundant opportunities to build ELA content knowledge, critical thinking, and social-emotional skills usually requires going beyond core curriculum programs.
Junior Great Books® provides consistent practice with the inquiry-based skills that are rarely the focus of core ELA programs. We offer three proven, flexible ways to supplement, not supplant, your existing core reading program and boost learning:
- Create space for occasional Junior Great Books units
- Use Great Books professional development to identify texts in your core reading program that support Shared Inquiry™
- Use Junior Great Books professional development to enhance learning from core reading program texts—even if they don’t support Shared Inquiry
Create space for occasional Junior Great Books units
For the strongest learning results, pair Junior Great Books materials with our research-based Shared Inquiry method of learning–even if you can make time for only a few units a year.
|High-quality texts from a variety of cultures and genres, chosen to sustain authentic discussion||Support close reading and in-depth questioning; introduce students to a range of text types and vocabulary|
|Professional development that empowers teachers to build a classroom focused on curiosity and inquiry||Creates a focus on learning from peers, not just from the teacher; allows teachers to adjust lesson plans for maximum effectiveness|
|Sequence of interpretive activities that mirror strong readers’ habits of mind||Make textual analysis fun and accessible through a variety of learning modalities; build transferable skills|
|Shared Inquiry discussion||Builds students’ abilities to develop ideas, find and explain textual evidence, and listen and respond to others|
|Differentiated instruction||Simple, effective strategies to help all students engage in higher-level reading, thinking, and discussion|
|Teacher resources, implementation recommendations, and assessment tools||Simplify using and customizing the program; include formative, summative, and reflection options|
|Written response and cross-curricular activities||Provide an authentic context and graphic organizers for writing; extend thinking to other subject areas|
|Personal connection activities and thematic question suggestions||Spur self-reflection, self-regulation, cooperation, and deeper consideration of concepts such as trust, friendship, and responsibility|
Use Great Books professional development to identify texts in your core reading program that support Shared Inquiry
Your core reading program probably includes some texts that will sustain in-depth discussion, and Great Books professional development consultants can help you identify them and build Shared Inquiry units around them.
|Demonstration of and practice with the Shared Inquiry teaching stance||Empowers teachers to implement a research-based, inquiry-centered focus on open-ended questioning that fosters critical and independent thinking|
|Practice in developing and identifying interpretive questions||Equips teachers to write and test questions about texts, and use types of questions effectively; this understanding enables use of Shared Inquiry with texts from other reading programs|
|Exploration of ways to extend and deepen students’ interactions with texts||Introduces teachers to strategies that build on programs that teach foundational skills (e.g. phonics, decoding, sight words) by using inquiry as a meaningful arena to practice those skills|
|Explanation of and practice with asking follow-up questions to expand students’ thinking||Gives teachers a repertoire of ways to use questions to help students develop ideas, find and explain evidence, and respond to peers’ comments|
Use Junior Great Books professional development to enhance learning from core reading program texts – even if they don’t support Shared Inquiry
Because our Shared Inquiry method emphasizes questioning, close reading, and peer response, our professional development consultants can show you how to foster deeper student engagement even with non-interpretive texts.
|Learn how to use different types of texts and questions, while being clear with students about expectations||Enables teachers to knowledgeably shift between text types and the learning orientations best suited to them|
|Understand how to invite and use student questions after a first reading of a text||Equips teachers to use a Sharing Questions activity to help students identify curiosity or confusion after the first reading of any text, and determine next steps for question types|
|Explore ways to have students pause during a second reading and respond meaningfully to parts of the text||Helps teachers choose strategies for engaging students in close reading during a second reading of a text; options include note taking, movement, and pair-and-share opportunities|
|Learn to write and choose questions for interpretive and/or evaluative discussion||Builds teacher understanding of what types of discussion can be supported by different texts; enables teachers to build critical thinking skills with any text|
Senior Professional Learning Consultant and Editor.
Nancy Carr has over 20 years of experience as both a professional development coach and a curriculum developer, working in schools throughout the country and with a wide range of student populations. Her work focuses on the intersection of curriculum materials and classroom practice, and she has helped develop many of the Foundation’s current K–12 materials. Nancy holds a PhD in English from the University of Virginia.