It’s Bigger Than a Dot!

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-9-26-49-pmThis week, Sept 15 was International Dot Day. All across the world, classrooms were celebrating the creativity that springs from the initiation of effort-even the tiniest attempts.  “Make your mark!“became the mantra with students.  I believe that when we accept and encourage our children wherever they are and honor their efforts, great things can happen. Peter Reynold‘s brilliant book , The Dot , illustrates this so beautifully.  In this story, we are introduced to Vashti, a student who lacks confidence in her ability to draw. Her teacher encourages her to “just make a mark” and what happens after that changes how Vashti sees herself and her abilities. Talk about growth mindset! (check out the story below)


Worldwide, students heard that powerful message and experienced the potential of The Dot as the start of something wonderful.  These literacy events can be transformative for children everywhere, and the sense of community that comes from knowing we are part of something bigger than our classroom is empowering. When I tell kids that children on the other side of the world are reading this book today, or celebrating dots today, you can see the look of awe spread across their faces. Grab a globe and show them. Tell them about a child in Africa, or China, or France and watch them begin to think globally. We are all the same-we are all connected.

Sure, you might have missed Dot Day, but there is a year filled with events that celebrate literacy and our global community. Participation in these events means so much more than arts and crafts or reading a singular story.  Being a part of something bigger than ourselves helps us feel connected and important.  We can relate to others with a common story, idea, and message that becomes universal. We can identify ourselves as members of a larger, more inclusive community. We matter in the world.

So don’t worry if you missed Dot Day. There are many, many celebrations that you can plan for. You don’t have to do them all, but I encourage you to participate in something this year that lets your children become part of something bigger than their classroom. Maybe it is a school-wide or district event. Maybe it is something in your city or state. Perhaps it is a national or global initiative. You’ll be supporting their understanding of literacy while promoting the importance of humanity.

Some Literacy Initiatives You May Want to Check Out


International Day of Peace -Sept 21

Banned Books Week 2016: Sept. 25 – Oct. 1

Hispanic Heritage Month Sept 15-Oct 15

The Global Read Aloud Oct. 3- Nov. 11

Black Poetry Day – Oct. 17

Teen Read Week Oct. 9-15

National Day on Writing – Oct 20

National Family Literacy Day -Nov 1

Picture Book Month – November

American Indian Heritage Month- November

African American Read In- February

World Read Aloud Day – Feb 16, 2017

Read Across America Day -March 2, 2017

World Book Day March 2, 2017

World Storytelling Day March 20, 2017

D.E.A.R. Day (Drop Everything and Read) April 12, 2017

National Poetry Month- April

National Library Week April 10-16, 2017

Children’s Book Day- April 30, 2017

Children’s Book Week – May 1-7, 2017

You can also celebrate:

Author’s Birthdays, Book Birthdays,&  Book Awards

If you are like me, you love any excuse to celebrate books, authors, writing, and reading! Let’s ignite in our kids a genuine love of literacy. When we  rejoice and honor the role of literacy in our lives and our world we are giving our students an incredible gift.

What’s On My Book Radar?

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-11-52-20-amFans of Jennifer Nielsen will be thrilled with her latest book, The Scourge.  In true Nielsen fashion, it was a page-turner that I didn’t want to put down. Ani Mells lived during the time of the scourge- a plague from which no one recovers. When she is diagnosed with the scourge and sentenced to  Attic Island, the colony where victims live out the end of their painfully short lives, her loyal friend, Weevil, makes a brave decision to make sure Ani doesn’t die alone. But when Ani gets to the colony she makes some discoveries that may save others from her terrible fate, if only she lives long enough to reveal the secrets!  I am thrilled that this is a stand-alone book. I love a good series, but there is something satisfying with a well-told tale in a single text. I highly recommend this book to all middle-grade readers and their teachers! I think you’ll be mesmerized, too!


2 thoughts on “It’s Bigger Than a Dot!

  1. I had never heard of “Dot Day”. Thanks for sharing this information, Paula. I can’t wait to get this book and the one you recommended. Thanks, also, for the great list of important dates to celebrate Literacy. That will be so helpful as I write posts for my blog.

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