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Junior Great Books Discussion Plan

A program of the Great Books Foundation of Chicago, Illinois, to expose students from second grade through high school to the “great books of the Western world.” Made up of a series of paperbacks, with short stories, poetry, essays and other works, the plan also offers materials to help improve teacher skills as discussion leaders. Used in many programs for gifted students, the plan emphasizes story interpretation based on shared inquiry in freewheeling classroom discussions that encourage student understanding and love of literature. The Junior Great Books was an offspring of the Great Books Program, a curriculum developed in 1947 that was based on the study of classical works of philosophy, literature, history and science that some educators considered the foundation of all human knowledge. Developed by University of Chicago President Robert M. Hutchins and his presidential assistant, philosophy professor MORTIMER J. ADLER, the Great Books Program was a modern variation of the traditional CLASSICAL EDUCATION curriculum developed between the 15th and 18th centuries. Hutchins and Adler added works of modern writers and philosophers to those of the great writers of ancient Greece and Rome. They started the junior program 15 years later as an appropriate adaptation for younger readers.
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