Looking to meet wide-ranging student needs?

Elementary school kids raising hands to teacher, back view

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