Italy Reads

Italy Reads Program

Italy Reads

Italy Reads welcomes back to Earth astronaut Paolo Nespoli

During his 139 days aboard the International Space Station, European astronaut Paolo Nespoli participated in the Italy Reads Keynote Address by reading the poem "There is a solitude of space," by Emily Dickinson selected for the occasion by former US poet laureate Billy Collins. 

Watch Paolo Nespoli's greeting from outer space:


There's more to JCU's Italy Reads Program than just one good book.

Italy Reads is a community-based English language reading and cultural exchange program that collaborates with 200 Italian high school teachers from over 60 high schools across Italy from Naples and Rome to Milan. Each year, one classic work of American literature is selected to read together.

Italy Reads began in 2009 as a National Endowment for the Arts "Big Read Rome" and the great success and demand for this program has now brought us to its 9th year as Italy Reads. The program benefits from the continued support from the United States Embassy to Italy, the English Theatre of Rome and John Cabot University.

In 2017, we welcome teachers from high schools in Italy, JCU student volunteers, and Italian high school students to join in our read of The Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson! The edition we are reading is the Modern Library, ISBN 978-0-679-78335-0 which includes an introduction by Billy Collins, United States Poet Laureate (2001–2003).

Activities with Italy Reads can now be undertaken in accordance with Alternanza Scuola Lavoro (Dlg.No.107,13.07.2015). For details, contact

Our numbers tell our story of the contributions Italy Reads makes to our community in Italy.

Italy Reads ChartN.B.: The number of teachers includes a school Principal for each school. Each participating teacher involves an average of 25 students in the Italy Reads program. Some teachers do not participate each and every year.

To learn more about this program and how to participate, read on.

It's easy to be a JCU student volunteer. Click here.

 Please see our Calendar of Events for a complete list of Italy Reads activities.

To register as an official Italy Reads 2017 participant, or to receive more information about Italy Reads, please e-mail us at .

Participating teachers, students, libraries and book group leaders can attend a Keynote Address and Master Class for Teachers by former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, watch a film about Emily Dickinson, attend a production by The English Theatre of Rome, participate in Student Exchanges, and compete in a Student Video Contest . Participating teachers can also attend a day-long Italy Reads training workshop.

Keynote Address -- Participating teachers and their students will be invited to the Italy Reads Keynote Address delivered by former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins. See the Calendar of Events  for details.

• Master Class for High School Teachers and Book Group Leaders -- by former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins. See the Calendar of Events for details.

Film Screenings -- Participating teachers and their students will have the opportunity to schedule a free screening of a film about Emily Dickinson followed by a discussion session with Italy Reads Volunteers at John Cabot University. 

Play Performances -- Participating teachers and their students will receive discounted tickets to The English Theatre of Rome's production of the stage adaptation of The Belle of Amherst. See the Calendar of Events for details.

Student Video Contest -- Students participating in Italy Reads can enter a video contest to compete for significant cash prizes. See Student Video Contest for details.

Student Exchanges -- John Cabot University students will be available to visit schools to lead discussions of the poet and her work in a student exchange program.  Students of participating Italy Reads teachers will also be invited to participate in discussions of the play at the John Cabot University campus. Contact Italy Reads at for details.

Teacher Training -- Participating teachers can take part in a day-long workshop about the poet and her work and the use of the teaching materials gathered by Italy Reads. Contact Italy Reads at for details. The Teacher Training Workshop will be offered on Friday, 12 May and Saturday, 23 September 2017.

Teaching Materials -- Through the Italy Reads  website and the JCU Frohring Library, teachers participating in Italy Reads have access to a wealth of supplemental electronic materials related to the author and her work.  See Resources for details. Contact Italy Reads at

Books for Libraries -- Participating libraries can receive a limited number of free copies of The Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson. Contact Italy Reads at

 Learn what Italy reads is about

With the support of:

English Theatre of Rome US Embassy