In Reading and Writing Place: Connecting Rural Schools and Communities Erika L. Bass and Amy Price Azano suggest there is a need to add nuance to the ways we consider and engage with place in the classroom. Using a narrative writing project completed with two rural schools in two states, the authors provide an explanation of critical placed education and how students' explorations of place through writing led the authors to develop a concept of place (Big "P" and small "p" place). Students' explorations of place highlighted the how internalizations and externalizations of place impact identity formation and sense of belonging.
Erika L. Bass is assistant professor of English Education at the University of Northern Iowa.
Amy Price Azano, is a professor of rural education and adolescent literacy and director of the Virginia Tech Center for Rural Education.
Foreword, Robert E. Brooke
Chapter 1: Making Place Matter
Chapter 2: Reading and Writing Place
Chapter 3: A Nuanced Theory of P/place
Chapter 4: Rural Contexts Explored
Chapter 5: Constructing a Critical Placed Unit
Chapter 6: Externalizing Place
Chapter 7: Internalizing Place
Chapter 8: Exploring P/place Through Place Narratives
Chapter 9: Place and Meaning Making for Rural Students
Appendix A: Texts Used in Memoir Unit
Appendix B: Research Methodology
About the Authors
Where are you from? The potential of education is limited when it fails to account for the P-Places/ p-places in which teaching and learning occur. This accessible and thought-provoking book translates research to practice in a way that is deeply respectful of teachers’ expertise, while at the same time not shying away from the research on which its ideas are based. The authors guide readers through a critical placed writing unit for rural high school students while also anchoring the classroom components with clear explanations of rural placed identities and why they matter. Grounded by real and inspiring student writing, in this book teachers will find a guide for re-thinking the potential of place, from a way to make content more relevant to place as the focus of learning. Reading and Writing Place: Connecting Rural Schools and Communities book is essential reading for every English/Language Arts teacher.
An English curriculum that invites students to read and write place creates opportunities for students to value the rural places they are from or find themselves in as legitimate sites for study. This imminently readable and engaging book, grounded in scholarship and chock-a-block full of examples from rural classrooms—provides an outstanding resource for educators who value the lives and experiences of their rural students and want to provide meaningful reading and writing instruction and helps students understand themselves and their communities—to preserve and strengthen that which is worth celebrating in our communities and to understand, critique, and change that which needs changing.
Reading and Writing Place: Connecting Rural Schools and Communities is everything. It's theoretical and practical. It's empirical and personal. In short it's incredible. Drs. Azano and Price artfully nuance place and its connection to both identity and pedagogy, and have provided beautiful examples of how rural teachers and their young writers have used place-conscious writing with powerful results. It is a book I wish I would've had as a rural English teacher and one I wish I would've written myself.
Work in rural literacies has long called for a combination of place-based and critical pedagogies for teaching that sustains rural communities. Bass and Azano have delivered in this volume the road map for teachers to do exactly this. Everything you need is here—from conceptual understandings to the results of real teaching with real students in different rural places, plus an interactive component to make these ways of teaching your own. What a wonderful resource for rural places, teachers, and students!
Rarely have I seen a book that presents theory-into-practice so well. For teachers in rural communities who want to bring a truly nuanced understanding of place to their teaching, Reading and Writing Place blends conceptual understanding with the results of real teaching with real students in real places. The result is a work that will help craft ways of teaching that sustain rural communities and students.