Shameless Plug for My New Textbook

Writing Communities

Steve Parks, Syracuse University

 BBD October 2016

Est. 500 pages, paperback

Make the community your classroom

Writing Communities is an exciting new reader that connects students to neighborhoods and writing courses to communities. Part One introduces students to academic reading and writing skills and prompts them to examine how their communities influence their writing. Part Two then shows students how their academic reading and writing skills can serve as a bridge into working—and producing writing—with the community. The text promotes involvement in and advocacy of social issues such as education, housing, and cultural justice, and assignments provide students with opportunities to put concepts into practice, including setting up community writing groups, public events, and publications. A rich variety of readings ranging from excerpts from educational scholarship to poetry and personal narratives help show students the myriad ways in which writing works in the world.

The collaborative skills students learn from Writing Communities prepares them for any work they may take on—in any community they may be a part of—for the rest of their lives.


Part One: Reading and Writing Communities provides a vocabulary for discussing the relationship between academic reading and writing, prompts students to reflect on their own community values and the values expected of them at college, and discusses how such work relates to community literacy practices.

 Part Two: Collaboration and Publishing demonstrates how the academic concepts discussed in Part One can be built upon to develop both campus and community-based projects and publications. These collaborative skills are meant to be used immediately in the course of a class, but they will be valuable to students outside of academia.

 Engaging, diverse readings provide an opportunity for sustained interaction with texts that move across the academic/community boundaries. Carefully chosen excerpts from leading scholars such as Nedra Reynolds, David Bartholomae, Paula Mathieu, and Gloria Anzaldúa appear alongside personal narratives from publications such as n+1 and Pro(se)letariets, providing both an introduction to literacy theories and real-world insights on how writing can work for public good.

 A variety of writing assignments and sequences facilitates complete engagement with the text:

  • “Checkpoints” throughout the text ask students to reflect on—and write about—how the instruction of the text relates to their own background and community values.
  • End-of-chapter discussion questions ask students to engage with each other to analyze the concepts of the text.
  • Post-reading questions for every selection ask students to relate the selections to the larger discussions of the text.
  • “Writing with Communities” projects at the end of each reading chapter provide ideas and opportunities for larger projects they can undertake outside the classroom—either on their campus or in their larger community.

An appendix of key terms helps students to gain a rich sense of the concepts deployed throughout the book.


Preface for Instructors

A Letter to Students: “The First Assignment”

 Part 1: Reading and Writing Communities

 Chapter 1 Reading Strategies and Intellectual Communities

Writing Prompt: “Strange Angels”

What is An Intellectual?

Becoming an Intellectual

Checkpoint: Changing Communities

How to Read Like an Intellectual

Traditional Reading Strategies

Asking Why the Reading Was Assigned

Reading for Purpose

Reading for Evidence

Reading for Audience

Note-Taking Strategies


Sample Student Annotations

Keeping a Reading Journal

Forming a Reading Group

Organic Reading Strategies

Listening to Everyday Speech

Recognizing Community Theories

Recognizing Community Insights

Recognizing Community Solutions

Making Connections

Double-Entry Journal

Audio Blog

Community Archives

Sample Student Annotations

Rundown: Strategies for Reading

Discussion Questions and Activities

Chapter 2 Academic and Community Discourse

Writing Prompt: “Lessons Learned”

What is Academic Discourse?

Checkpoint: Inventing Discourse

Research Communities



Checkpoint: Identifying Discourse Communities

Joining the Community

Checkpoint: Bringing Voices Together

Writing Like an Intellectual

Establishing a Research Focus

Organizing Research Materials

Understanding Your Research Community

Participating in the Research Community

The Writing Process




Final Editing

Sample Intellectual Strategies

Bridging Academic Communities

Rundown: Strategies for Research and Writing

Discussion Questions and Activities

 Chapter 3 Writing Education: Moving from Home to College Communities

Antonio Gramsci

On Intellectuals

David Bartholomae

From Inventing the University

Andrew Delbanco

College: Who Went? Who Goes? Who Pays?

Various Authors

Excerpts from Pro(se)letariets           

Harry Boyte and Elizabeth Hollander

Wingspread Declaration on the Civic Responsibilities of Research Universities      

Writing with Communities: Projects

Project 1: Evidence of Intellectuals

Project 2: Writing across the Curriculum (and Beyond)

Project 3: What Was (and Is) Your College

Project 4: Performing Community

Project 5: The Students’ Right to Their Own Language

Project 6: The Forgotten Bottom Remembered

 Chapter 4 Writing Classrooms: Discovering Writing within the Classroom Communities

Gerald Graff

The Problem Problem and Other Oddities of Academic Discourse

Carmen Kynard

From Candy Girls to Cyber Sista-Cypher

Chris Wilkey

Engaging Community Literacy through the Rhetorical Work of Education

Writing with Communities: Projects

Project 1: Crossing Boundaries

Project 2: Hush Harbors

Project 3: A Community of Classrooms

Project 4: Community Voices

Project 5: A Community of Intellectuals

Project 6: Activist Scholars


Part 2: Collaboration and Publishing

 Chapter 5 Community Partnerships

Writing Prompt: “Intersections”

Getting Started

Checkpoint: Finding Your Place

Checkpoint: Intruding

Learning about the Community

Researching the Neighborhood

Checkpoint: For Better or Worse

Engaging with Residents

“Story of Self” Workshop

Understanding Your Role in the Community Partnership

Defining Your Role

Limited Involvement

Sustained Involvement

Transformative Involvement

Rundown: Strategies for Community Partnerships

Discussion Questions and Activities

 Chapter 6 Establishing Community Writing Groups

Writing Prompt: “The Writing Machine”

Adams College: A Case Study for Community Writing Groups

Initiating Public School Partnerships

Creating a Tutoring Program in Schools

Using Writing Prompts

Responding to Student Writing

Creating a Multiple-Location Writing Project

Writing Prompts for Classroom Purposes

Checkpoint: Reading and Responding

Connecting to the Community

Fill in the Blank

Video Responses

Community Leaders

Connecting to College Students

Student Organizations as Respondents

Attracting Social Media Responses

Student Leaders

Connecting to College Administrators and Faculty



Conducting Interviews: Frameworks and Strategies

Sponsoring Community Dialogue

The Mechanics of a Community Writing Group

Establishing a Writing Group

Holding an Opening Meeting

Meeting Place

Ground Rules

Reading Work in Groups

Criticism and Feedback

Your Role as a Student

Public Readings

Working for Publication

Rundown: Strategies for Community Writing Groups

Discussion Questions and Activities

 Chapter 7 Community Events and Community Publishing                                          

Writing Prompt: “Coming Home”

Creating a Community Event

Working Closely with Your Community Partner

Setting Goals and Work Plans for the Event

Writing Prompts

Open Mic

Public Readings

Organization Tables

Kids’ Station

Volunteer Table



Checkpoint: Asking for Approval

Creating a Community Publication

Setting Publication Goals

Fundraising to Meet Goals

Generating Writing for the Publication

Permission to Print


Editorial Decision-Making

The Question of Standard English

Print Publishing Considerations

Creating Book Files

International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and Barcodes

Print on Demand

Printing Timeframe


Book Launch

A Final Note on Adams College

Rundown: Community Events and Community Publishing

Discussion Questions and Activities

 Chapter 8 Writing Place: Mapping Yourself Onto Local, National, and International Communities

Nedra Reynolds

Reading Landscapes and Walking the Streets and Maps of the Everyday: Habitual Pathways and Contested Places         

Paula Mathieu

Writing in the Streets

Jesus Villicana Lopez

I Left Moroleon at Daybreak, with Great Sadness

Writing with Communities: Projects

Project 1: Listening to the Voice of Experience

Project 2: Becoming Visible

Project 3: Performing Citizenship

Project 4: From Our Eyes: A Community Tourbook

Project 5: Crossing Borders: A Community Publication

Project 6: Building Community

 Chapter 9 Writing Networks: Creating Links On and Off-Line

Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler

The Whole Is Great

James Paul Gee and Elizabeth R. Hayes

New Kinds of People and Relationships

Matt Mason

The Tao of Pirates

About Wikileaks

Writing with Communities: Projects

Project 1: A University Wikileaks

Project 2: A Gaming Classroom

Project 3: Media Networks

Project 4: Networking Action

Project 5: Literate Lives

Project 6: Pirate Radio

 Chapter 10     Writing Identity: Moving in and across Boundaries

Wesley Yang

The Face of Seung-Hui Cho

Stacey Waite

Excerpts from Butch Geography

Gloria Anzaldúa

Tlilli, Tlapalli/The Path of the Red and Black Ink and La Consciencia de le Mestizo/Towards a New Consciousness

Jonathan Alexander

Queer Theory for Straight Students

Writing with Communities: Projects

Project 1: Bodily Encounters

Project 2: The Student Body

Project 3: Beyond Singular Identity Politics

Project 4: A Communal Body

Project 5: “This Is the Body of A…”

Project 6: Coming Together

 Appendix of Key Terms



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