Suggested Readings

Rural Visibility in Preservice Teacher Education: An (in-progress) Annotated Bibliography

There is a rich and still growing scholarly community and body of research surrounding the experiences of rural teachers and students. However, in my own teacher preparation program and graduate work, rural teaching and preparing good teachers for those places was seldom mentioned. Because we never know where our future teachers are going to land, covering the affordances and constraints of living and teaching across rural, urban, suburban, and rurban spaces is important.

The field of teacher education is by and large a metro- centric field which made locating literature for my rural-focused dissertation a bit challenging. I hope this bibliography is helpful for teacher educators and graduate students who would like to know more about rural education but experience the same challenges I did in locating that work.

For now, it is a suggested reading list, but I will be updating it to include annotations, so make sure you check back (or get in touch) if you’re curious about a particular work.

Open Access Journal Articles

Amplifying Rural Voices: Defining, Reading, and Writing Rural Stories

In this article, I describe ways to use a critical rural lens to teach Nora Shalaway Carpenter’s Rural Voices. There are examples of graphic organizers and activities you could use in your classroom with this text (and others) to think about rural representation.
Who’s ‘Ere: Identifying and Addressing Rural Erasure in ELA Classrooms

This article briefly discusses research on the role of rural out-migrant ELA teachers’ place-connected identities on rural erasure through text selection and instructional practice. Based on the research findings, it provides resources such as an equity audit for course syllabi and classroom libraries as well as tools for finding and selecting rural young adult literature to combat rural erasure and support teachers’ inclusion of critical rural perspectives in their teaching.
Identifying Rural Salience in the 2020 Whippoorwill Book Award Winners
by Jennifer Sanders, Jill Bindewald, Devon Brenner, Karen Eppley, Kate Kedley, Nick Kleese, Natalie Newsom, & Stephanie Short

In this article, the Whippoorwill Committee describes the salience of rurality and its influence on identity of place and the people from there through their discussion of the 2020 Whippoorwill Book Award Winners. It includes summaries of each of the 2020 winners.
The Inaugural Year of the Whippoorwill Book Award for Rural YA Literature
by Jennifer Sanders, Jill Bindewald, Devon Brenner, Karen Eppley, Kate Kedley, Nick Kleese, Natalie Newsom, & Stephanie Short

This article details the mission of the Whippoorwill Award as well as the criteria the committee uses to select its winners. It also includes summaries of each of the 2019 winners.

Chapters and Magazine Articles

A Bleak Picture? Critical Pedagogy of Place and Finger Painting with Sadie

This chapter walks readers, step-by-step, through a finger painting activity to explore representations of rurality and sub/urbanity in Courtney Summers’s Sadie but could certainly be transferred to other texts.

Available on request.
Exploring Place- and Social-Class-Based Ways of Knowing

This article in English Journal outlines a unit I designed to teach place and social class in secondary ELA classrooms. It combines reming and writing and includes resources, suggested reading, engaging with songs and multimodal texts, and takes readers step by step through how to engage students with these critical concepts.

Available on request.
Short story collection ‘Rural Voices’ challenges assumptions

This article in Good Day! Magazine outlines the contents of Nora Shalaway Carpenter’s edited collection, Rural Voices, and offers teaching and reading suggestions for classrooms and book clubs.
‘In the Wild Light’ highlights impact of rural upbringing

This article in Good Day! Magazine reviews Jeff Zentner’s In the Wild Light with a specific focus on how it helps us think about rural identity. It also offers teaching and reading suggestions for classrooms and book clubs.
Rural Places have PRIDE: Increasing Rural Queer Visibility through YA Literature

This article in Good Day! Magazine reviews J.R. Jamison’s Hillbilly Queer in an effort to increase the visibility of queer folks in rural places. It also offers teaching and reading suggestions for classrooms and book clubs.
Announcing the 2022 Winners of the Whippoorwill Book Award for Rural Young Adult Literature

This article in Good Day! Magazine provides information on the Whippoorwill Book Award for Rural Young Adult Literature, announces the 2022 winners, and provides summaries, major themes, and essential questions for teaching each of the books or discussion them in book clubs.
Rural Young Adult Literature: Suggestions for Spooky Season Reading

This article in Good Day! Magazine is co-authored with YA horror author Rob Costello and reviews Adam Cesare’s Clown in a Cornfield and discusses the rationale for teaching rural YA horror as well as offers an example of what sophisticated critical place-based analysis of a YA horror book can look like. It also offers essential questions teachers and books club can use in their discussion of spooky books.
Reading for Mental Health in the New Year with Ab(solutely) Normal

This article in Good Day! Magazine features and interview with Nora Shalaway Carpenter, one of the contributing editors of Ab(solutely) Normal, a YA short story collection featuring stories and experiences of maintaining and managing mental health, especially for folks in rural areas.

Trade Books

Amy Price Azano, Devon Brenner, Jayne Downey, Karen Eppley, and Ann K. Schulte Teaching in Rural Places: Thriving in Classrooms, Schools, and Communities

This teacher education textbook invites preservice and beginning teachers to think critically about the impact of rurality on their work and provides an overview of what it means to live, teach, learn, and thrive in rural communities. This book underscores the importance of teaching in rural schools as an act of social justice—work that dismantles spatial barriers to economic, social, and political justice.

Teaching in Rural Places begins with a foundational section that addresses the importance of thinking about rural education in the U.S. as an educational environment with particular challenges and opportunities. The subsequent chapters address rural teaching within concentric circles of focus—from communities to schools to classrooms. Chapters provide concrete strategies for understanding rural communities, valuing rural ways of being, and teaching in diverse rural schools by addressing topics such as working with families, building professional networks, addressing trauma, teaching in multi-grade classrooms, and planning place-conscious instruction.

The first of its kind, this comprehensive textbook for rural teacher education is targeted toward preservice and beginning teachers in traditional and alternative teacher education programs as well as new rural teachers participating in induction and mentoring programs. Teaching in Rural Places will help ensure that rural students have the well-prepared teachers they deserve.
Robert Petrone & Allison Wynhoff Olsen Teaching English in Rural Communities: Toward a Critical Rural English Pedagogy

Showcasing the voices, perspectives, and experiences of rural English teachers and students, Teaching English in Rural Communities promotes equity, diversity, and inclusivity within rural education. Specifically, this book develops a Critical Rural English Pedagogy (CREP), which draws attention to issues of power, representation, and justice related to rurality. Based on the assumption that “rurality” is a social construct, CREP critiques deficit-laden stereotypes and renderings of rural places and people that circulate in media, popular discourse, and even education at times.

In doing so, CREP opens up possibilities for educators and students to use the English classroom as a space to better understand the complex issues they face as rural people and ways to promote more nuanced and comprehensive representations of rurality. In particular, this book highlights English rural classrooms whereby students examine representations of rurality in literary and media texts; decenter dominant settler-colonist narratives of rural spaces, places, and people; develop understandings of Indigenous perspectives and cultural practices, particularly related to land stewardship; and engage in local outreach to promote inclusivity within rural communities. This book also gives special attention to ways race and racism may factor into literacy education in rural contexts and possibilities for rural educators to attend to these issues.

Social Media & Other Resources to Follow

Helpful Facebook GroupsI Am A Rural Teacher
Reframing Rural
Rural Schools Collaborative
Whippoorwill Book Award
Write Out
Accounts to Follow on Twitter@readingrural
Other Helpful WebsitesCenter for Rural Education at Virginia Tech
The Daily Yonder
The Whippoorwill Award
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