“Not the Book” was inspired by students in my own classroom that were bored with traditional textbooks or “basal readers”. “Not the Book” is in support of taking “real life” experiences in students’ lives and creating a learning environment of reading that can be carried with a student everywhere—not just in a book. It involves using everyday materials the students might not otherwise pay attention to in their homes and community, and using those items as teaching tools. This allows for easier integration of material across subjects, and allows students and teachers to build relationships. Using a holistic approach to teaching, you not only promote a safe and supportive place for students to learn, but you create an opportunity for the students who are learning to see the benefits of the knowledge they already have around them. They do not have to search for opportunities to learn, the experience in the class will take effect without having to force the issue.
Our students bring a lot of knowledge to the classroom. Our society however, is constantly telling them to leave what they know at the door, and learn something new without engaging the students first. With our population growing more diverse by the day, educators looking to progress in the area of social justice and provide equitable education need to look into ways to adjust curriculum accordingly.