University of Southern Indiana

About the Program

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment. The NEA presents The Big Read in partnership with  Arts Midwest.

The Big Read answers a big need.  Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America, a 2004 report by the National Endowment for the Arts, found that not only is literary reading in America declining rapidly among all groups, but that the rate of decline has accelerated, especially among the young. The concerned citizen in search of good news about American literary culture would study the pages of this report in vain.

The Big Read aims to address this crisis squarely and effectively. It provides citizens with the opportunity to read and discuss a single book within their communities. The Big Read supports organizations across the country in developing community-wide reading programs which encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences. Organizations selected to participate in The Big Read receive a grant, access to online training resources and opportunities, and educational and promotional materials designed to support widespread community involvement.

Audience.  The programming for The Big Read in southwestern Indiana is designed to appeal to the community-at-large.  The additional programming is designed to appeal to both active readers, as well as those who might not initially consider reading the book.  This will provide an opportunity to engage these people in reading the book and to participate in discussion groups throughout the area. 


Big Read Discussion Group Leaders, fill out your post-meeting forms by clicking here:


Contact Anne Statham


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