Motivation research indicates that students need to be interested in the subject matter about which they are learning, and this article describes how connecting to place can pique students’ interest in writing and reading tasks. Place-based literacy practices, or those that allow opportunities for students to explore their out-of-school interests in authentic ways, have been shown to engage rural students in literacy learning. This article presents examples of writing projects found in the literature that incorporate an emphasis on place (e.g., photo essays, project-based learning assignments, community interviews). Resources for helping students find books connected to their sense of place are provided.

Author Biography

Rachelle Kuehl, PhD, is a postdoctoral associate at Virginia Tech and project manager of the Appalachian Rural Talent Initiative, a project aimed at increasing the number of rural Appalachian students served in Gifted and Talented programs. Dr. Kuehl is a reading specialist and former elementary teacher whose articles about writing instruction, children’s literature, teacher education, and rural education have been published in the English Journal, Journal of Children’s Literature, Theory & Practice in Rural Education, Collection Management, Reading in Virginia, Journal of Literacy Innovation, and the Teacher Educators’ Journal. She is co-author of a chapter on phonics and phonemic awareness in What’s Hot in Literacy? Exemplar Models of Effective Practice (2020) as well as two other chapters in forthcoming volumes.