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 13th 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 2022-2023: Margaret Fuller's 'Summer on the Lakes in 1843'

Margaret Fuller

"Sarah Margaret Fuller Ossoli (1810-1850), better known as Margaret Fuller, was a writer, editor, translator, early feminist thinker, critic, and social reformer who was associated with the Transcendentalist movement in New England. This is her introspective account of a trip to the Great Lakes region in 1843. Organized as a series of travel episodes interspersed with literary and social commentary, the work displays a style common to the portfolios, sketch books, and commonplace books kept by educated nineteenth-century women. 

In addition to her own thoughts about natural landscapes and human encounters, Fuller includes stories, legends, allegorical dialogues, poems, and excerpts from the works of other authors." (Source: Library of Congress).

She was the first American female war correspondent, writing for Horace Greeley's New-York Tribune. During her lifetime, Fuller spent time in Rome in 1846-49. Summer on the Lakes in 1843 is in the public domain and can be downloaded free of charge. It is also available in audio version at LibriVox.

Fuller laments the unjust treatment of Native Americans. She comments on the difficulties of pioneer life for women and on the degradation of the region's beautiful and exhilarating natural environment." 

When she traveled to the Midwest, Fuller was exhausted by her work as editor of The Dial, the Transcendentalist journal she edited with Ralph Waldo Emerson. Accompanied during part of the journey by her friends James Clarke and Sarah Clarke, who created the book's etchings, Fuller traveled by train, steamboat, carriage, and on foot in a circle from Niagara Falls north to Mackinac Island and Sault Ste. Marie, west to Milwaukee, south to Pawpaw, Illinois, and back to Buffalo.

(Source: Library of Congress)

See also Italy Reads Resources for Teachers prepared by JCU's Frohring Library.

Join Italy Reads 2022-2023

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 Margaret Fuller's Summer on the Lakes in 1843. This book is available in the public domain and can be downloaded free of charge. It is also available in audio format.

Teachers: Register here to receive details and include your students in this year's activities. 

Professional Development

Teacher Training Workshops (online)
These workshops are aimed at providing the basis for teaching this book and an opportunity for teachers to share ideas and network. Teachers (Italy Reads Scholars) who attended the Professional Development Course on Margaret Fuller presented and led discussions of Sample Lesson Plans they prepared in culmination of the Professional Development Course. The workshops were held in Spring and Fall 2022 and were recorded so that teachers signing up for the program later in the academic year can benefit from these resources. 

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 and their English-speaking colleagues in a high school in Italy who will include their students in the Italy Reads Program 2023-2024. 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. Please note that participation in this course is not obligatory for participation in the Italy Reads program.

Italy Reads 2023-2024 Professional Development Course, Teaching Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology. January  17 - April 28, 2023. Online weekly seminars, 5-7pm. Instructors: Carlos Dews, Ph.D. (Tuesdays, Jan. 17- Feb. 28), Jenn Lindsay, Ph.D. (Fridays, March 10 - April 28). Details and registration.

  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]

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 - 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 Interviews of Guest Speakers - Students work in teams to research, prepare, and interview guest speakers. They learn to write about the interview and present it at a final meeting.

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 the Italy Reads book. A limited number are available. Italy Reads 2022, the book is accessible in the public domain.

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