What We Do

The mission of the Great Books Foundation is to advance the critical, reflective thinking and social and civic engagement of readers of all ages through Shared Inquiry™ discussion of works and ideas of enduring value.

We are an independent, nonprofit educational organization that creates reading and discussion programs for students and adults. 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 outstanding texts and taught the Shared Inquiry method of learning to teachers and volunteers. We seek to:

  • Inspire students to explore essential ideas and learn to read and think critically
  • Equip teachers to lead engaging, inquiry-focused explorations of challenging texts
  • Build communities of lifelong learners and engaged citizens
  • Expand access to inquiry-based learning through partnerships and outreach programs

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

Author reading from 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 Leader