The Great Books
The Great Books and ideas of the Western Tradition serve as a foundation to the Great Hearts program across all K-12 grades.
“The Great Books are works that have stood the test of time as exemplary for their beauty, eloquence, impact on history, and profundity in addressing the essential questions of what does it mean to be a human being.” explained Dan Scoggin, Great Hearts co-founder. “What is justice? What is knowledge? What is proof? Add to that all the sorts of perennial moral questions we should ponder in our early years: what is my duty to myself, my family, my friends?”
The authors of these classics teach us how to question and think deeply about the world around us, addressing great ideas such as Justice, Liberty, Equality, Truth, Beauty, and Goodness—whether it be through philosophy, literature, poetry, or drama.
Our students seek to learn from the knowledge of these past authors and their works by reading and analyzing them, and discussing them with their fellow students who also seek the wisdom of the ages. When they do this, students gain a fresh perspective with which they can understand the present world and tackle questions of the human condition that are just as relevant now as when the authors penned the works.
In this light, Robert Maynard Hutchins described our interaction with these books as the “great conversation.” “Our students’ fresh thoughts and voices are brought into dialogue with forefathers and foremothers who wrestled with the same questions of human nature. They too have a voice in the deliberation. It is a joy to see students escape the tyranny of the present and their own very real pressing emotions and concerns to imagine the permanent aspects of the human condition, both good and bad, what has been, what is, and what might be possible,” said Scoggin.
Elementary Reading List
Middle School Reading List
High School Reading List