Community Matters is a reader/rhetoric that encourages students to think critically about the social, political, and philosophical meanings and importance of community while helping them to build a writer's community within their classroom.
Reading selections and writing assignments throughout the book encourage students to consider the local, national, and global communities in which they live, and to respond to and participate in these communities through writing. Student writing is connected with the community through thematic inquiry, reflection, and structured writing activities.
- Focuses on the political, cultural, and social meanings of "community" and on many examples of local and national community action. Both the selections and the writing apparatus in the book support this community focus.
- Includes many documents and essays describing real-life community action projects--for example, "Coming Home to Manilatown," by Estella Habala, or "How to YA YA in Your Neighborhood," by Claudia Barker.
- Readings are organized into broad thematic categories (Chs. 5-10) with "sub themes" within each chapter.
- Many genres are represented in the reading selections--oral histories, letters, press releases, articles, brochures, online newsletters, as well as essays, short stories, and poems. Because of the text's emphasis on social action and community development, many of the featured selections have never before been anthologized.
- The readings represent a mix of canonical and lesser-known writers--well-known authors include Cisneros, Momaday, Frost, Kingston, Baldwin, Orwell, Angelou, Alvarez, and Dillard, among others.
- More than 30 photos/visuals are included in the book and most are linked with the readings in Chapters 5-10.
- Detailed writing apparatus helps students move from reading about different communities to writing in and about their own communities, including:
- Four introductory chapters that outline key reading, writing, and research strategies for any introductory composition course.
- Three categories of questions after each reading--"Conversation Starters," "Reading Matters," and "Writing Matters."
- "Related Websites" that follow most of the readings in the book offer links to Web sites where students and teachers can find additional information about a given author, issue, or community project.
- End-of-chapter questions ("Writing about..." questions) to invite comparison of issues and selections across chapters.