What We Do

We are an independent, nonprofit educational organization that creates reading and discussion programs for students, teachers, and adult learners. We believe that literacy and critical thinking help form reflective, knowledgeable citizens equipped to participate constructively in a democratic society.

For over 70 years, the Great Books Foundation has published anthologies of authentic texts and taught the Shared Inquiry™ method of learning to educators around the world.

  • Through our books, journals, and interactive learning materials:
    We inspire students to explore essential ideas and learn to read and think critically.
  • Through our professional development programs:
    We equip teachers to lead engaging, inquiry-focused explorations of challenging texts.
  • Through our community outreach initiatives and partnerships:
    We expand access to inquiry-based learning, building communities of lifelong learners and engaged citizens.

Engaging Blended Solutions for ELA

The Great Books Foundation offers a variety of print and digital solutions for the classroom in addition to professional development and training for teachers.

Our flagship Junior Great Books® series for grades K–8 are available in print and online through our Junior Great Books Digital Classroom. Teachers have access to the offline and online resources they need to teach Junior Great Books at any grade level.

Grades K–1: Three volumes of engaging stories and poems with activities that build a solid foundation in oral language skills, listening skills, and comprehension strategies, allowing young learners to take the first steps toward expressing their ideas about what they read.

Grades 2–5: Two books of authentic fiction, a book of Nonfiction Inquiry, and student workbooks for each grade level.

Grades 6–8: An anthology comprising ten stories, eight nonfiction texts, and two poems, as well as a reader’s journal, for each grade level.

Grades 9–12: Twelve selections of fiction and nonfiction from classic contemporary masters per grade level. A variety of additional standalone titles cover civics, nature, science, and social studies.

Professional Development: In Person and Online

We provide professional development courses on our Shared Inquiry method, from an introductory level through mastery.

You can support our work through a tax-deductible contribution to the Great Books Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Author reading from Great Books published book, Immigrant Voices

“I would say to a parent or child considering Junior Great Books to go ahead and do it because there is nothing better than to actually read a great book. Reading a book can take you places in your imagination that you could never dream of going.”

Lydia Penosky
Junior Great Books Teacher