Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Dot
 by Peter H Reynolds

The Dot. "Make your mark" it says on Peter Reynolds' website.

The Dot by Peter Reynolds’ is a simple, but extremely inspirational and powerful book.  

Reynolds has written an incredibly motivating and beautiful story about encouraging and honoring the creative spirit in every single person, no matter how obvious—or not so obvious—that creative spirit may be. 

The Dot has inspired an “International Dot Day” to celebrate the creativity in everyone!  This year “International Dot Day” will be celebrated on September 15.  There are a tremendous amount of “Dot Day” activities across the internet!  Check it out and bring all the creativity out of all of your students!

The Dot can be used as a mentor text in a variety of ways.  The Dot has both a strong lead and a strong ending which can be discussed and analyzed in a mini-lesson, especially for 3-6 graders. The Dot  is a great example of  a 'less is more’  text—which is another writer’s move that is important for older students to understand and start applying to their own writing.

K-3 students will thoroughly enjoy the story, as well. For 2nd and 3rd graders, The Dot  would be a great, but simple model of the use of quotation marks in dialogue

The Dot would also be a great mentor text for all grades to demonstrate the live skills of ‘confidence’  and ‘perseverance ‘.

Book Talk
Readers meet Vashti, the main character, after her art class, and she is feeling pretty dejected. She had not been able to draw a single thing in class that day and was absolutely convinced that she could not draw at all.

The wise art teacher (of course!) asks her to make a dot on the page. Vashti was hesitant, but eventually made a big dot on the blank paper. Her teacher asked her to sign her name under the dot.

A favorite line:
‘Her teacher smiled. “Just make a mark and see where it takes you.”
Vashti grabbed a marker and gave the paper a good, strong jab.
“There!” ‘

The teacher had The Dot framed in a gold frilly frame and hung it above her desk. Vashti was astounded (and thrilled) when she walked into art class the next week and saw it.  

What a confidence boost!  Vashti thus began a series of ‘Dot’ drawings!  Big dots, little dots, lots of big dots, lots of little dots. The dot drawings were all displayed at the school art show and they were quite the hit of the art show!

A little boy really admired Vashti and her talent!  He wished he could be like her, but claimed that he couldn’t draw a straight line.  

Another favorite line:
“Vashti noticed a little boy gazing up at her. “You’re a really great artist.  I wish I could draw,” he said. “ I bet you can,” said Vashti.
“ME?  No,not me. I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler.”
Vashi smiled. She handed the boy a blank sheet of paper.
“Show me.”

Vashi had him draw his line—which was gloriously squiggly. 
Then she asked him to sign it….leaving the reader with a ‘warm fuzzy’ understanding that the boy would experience similar recognition and confidence for his creativity.

Suggested Uses as a Mentor Text:
Book Genre: Realistic Fiction
Reading Workshop Strategies: Predicting, Connecting, Inferring, Character Development
Writing Workshop Genre and Strategies: Narrative writing, Personal Narrative. Small Moment, Strong Ending, Strong Beginning, Strong Female
Curricular Themes: Lifeskills, Grammar (dialogue) 

Peter Reynolds’ website:

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