Italy Reads

Italy Reads Program

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




The history of Italy Reads

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 10th 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.

Italy Reads 2021-2022: William Demby's 'Beetlecreek'

Banner Books, University Press of Mississippi/Jackson, 1998, ISBN-1-57806-106-7.

William Demby (1922–2013), was an African-American writer whose novels were focused on American experiences. In 1950 Demby published his first novel, 'Beetlecreek', which he situated in a 1930s-era African-American community in West Virginia. His novel pursues themes of race and personal identity.

Read more about the novel

Join Italy Reads 2021-2022

We welcome Italian high school teachers, JCU student volunteers, Italian high school students and English language book club leaders to join in our read of William Demby's Beetlecreek. Teachers who register to participate receive a free copy of this edition. Based on availability, school libraries will also receive a free copy of this edition.

John Cabot University thanks the University Press of Mississippi for their generous collaboration in making available a version of Beetlecreek for the visually impaired. Please contact us at [email protected] if you or one of your students require this version of the book.

For participating students, teachers are strongly encouraged to organize their students to purchase bulk orders online directly from the European distributor for this book Eurospan Bookstore at a special discounted price for Italy Reads participants. Write to [email protected] to receive the required discount code. The book can also be ordered through your local bookstore or online, however, the discount would not apply.

Professional Development

Teacher Training Workshops (online)
These workshops are aimed at providing the basis for teaching this book and an opportunity to share ideas and network. JCU professor Jenn Lindsay, Ph.D. will present and lead the discussion. Participants will receive a Certificate of Participation.

Professional Development Course (online)
This course, an annual appointment with teachers, is offered free of charge each Spring term in preparation for the subsequent academic year. Participants receive a Certificate of Completion for 30 hours of Professional Development. Qualified applicants are teachers of English Language and Culture in a high school in Italy who will include their students in the Italy Reads Program 2021-2022. The outcome of this course will be sample lessons prepared by attending teachers and material to support all teachers and will be posted on Italy Reads Resources for Teachers. Participation in this course is not obligatory for participation in the Italy Reads program.

Apply to participate in the Italy Reads 2022-2023 Professional Development Course Teaching Margaret Fuller's Summer on the Lakes (Public domain text that can be downloaded free of charge). Tuesdays, 5-7pm, 18 Jan.-6 May, online.

  1. I.O. Giulio Cesare, Sabaudia (LT)
  2. IIS Margherita Hack, Morlupo (RM)
  3. IIS Pacinotti-Archimede, Rome
  4. Istituto Paritario Gabriele D'Annunzio, Rome
  5. Liceo "Evangelista Torricelli", Rome
  6. Liceo Blaise Pascal Pomezia (RM)
  7. Liceo Classico Bertrand Russell, Rome
  8. Liceo Classico Statale "Ennio Quirino Visconti", Rome
  9. Liceo Galilei, Santa Marinella (RM)
  10. Liceo Ginnasio Dante Alighieri, Rome
  11. Liceo Ginnasio Statale "Virgilio"
  12. Liceo Scientifico "Ettore Majorana", Rome
  13. Liceo Scientifico "Giovanni Keplero", Rome
  14. Liceo Scientifico "Tullio Levi Civita", Rome
  15. Liceo Scientifico Statale "Farnesina", Rome
  16. Liceo Scientifico Statale I. Newton, Rome
  17. Liceo Scientifico Statale Peano, Rome
  18. Liceo Statale Niccolò Machiavelli, Rome 

Percorsi per le Competenze Trasversali e per l'Orientamento (PCTO) for Italian high school students

Activities with Italy Reads can be certified in accordance with ASL/PCTO (Dlg.No.107,13.07.2015). For details, contact [email protected]

Italy Reads Impact

JCU student volunteers

It's easy to be a JCU student volunteer. Italy Reads brings JCU students together with Italian high school students to discuss the book, and work together on the Video Contest submission. High school students have the opportunity to practice their English and JCU students get to know Italy a bit better.

See the Calendar of Events for dates and times of events this year. Events require registration to attend.To register as an official Italy Reads participant, or to receive more information about Italy Reads, please e-mail us at [email protected]

Keynote Address - An academic expert is invited to speak about the work of literature and the author at this public event. 

Master Class for High School Teachers and Book Group Leaders - The Keynote Speaker provides this opportunity exclusively for participating teachers and book group leaders. 

Play Performances - (to be confirmed for Spring 2022, based on current Covid-related public health regulations) Participating teachers and their students receive discounted tickets to The English Theatre of Rome's production for Italy Reads Theatre. 

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

Student Exchanges - JCU students are available to visit schools to lead discussions of the author and the work in a student exchange program.  These meetings are scheduled to be held in class, at JCU, or online. 

Teacher Training - Participating teachers can take part in workshops about the author, the work and the use of the teaching materials gathered by Italy Reads and produced by Italy Reads Scholars. These workshops are an opportunity to share ideas on interdisciplinary approaches. 

Teaching Materials - In collaboration with JCU Frohring Library, Italy Reads provides teachers and students with  access to a wealth of supplemental digital materials related to the author and the work. See Resources for details.

Books for Libraries - Participating libraries can receive a free copy of this year’s Italy Reads book. A limited number are available. 

Astronaut Paolo Nespoli reads Emily Dickinson in the outer space

 Learn what Italy reads is about

With the support of:

English Theatre of Rome US Embassy