Classical Connections

Taking Middle School Reading Out of the Box!

Community Collaboration

This project was created by librarians in Charlotte, Vermont: Margaret Woodruff and Cheryl Sloan from the public library, and Heidi Huestis, the school librarian. It was developed in response to a challenge from a community member, Alex Kroll, to encourage middle schoolers to read and enjoy the classics. Mr. Kroll graciously provided the funding, and the three librarians designed a content-rich week of activities, books, art and writing to enrich the readings. Mr. Kroll has worked with the Vermont Department of Libraries to offer funding for up to five more libraries to conduct such a program.

Take this idea and run with it!

This project of pairing the classics with modern day literature was successful in Charlotte mainly due to the strong collaboration between the school and the public library. All communities are different! Take the opportunity to reinvent and remix this original idea so that it works best for your middle schoolers!

Vermont Public Library Foundation Grants

Requirements for the grant opportunity are:

  • Collaboration between a public library and a school is strongly encouraged.
  • A program for middle schoolers focused on one of the Classical Connections literature pairings:
    The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan and Greek Mythology
    The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt and Shakespeare
    Jip by Katherine Paterson and Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
    Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld and The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

Libraries may use the materials that Charlotte has already prepared, or they may create their own. Multiple copies of titles are available for loan through the Vermont Department of Libraries. Visit the link below to locate the grant application and accompanying resources for each classic pairing.


Heidi Huestis

Teacher Librarian

Charlotte Central School

Cheryl Sloan

Youth Services LIbrarian

Charlotte Public Library