The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds: book review and activities

I highly recommend this book to anyone who works with children or is a parent. I have to fight back the tears every time I read this story.  I too was a reluctant learner and lacked self-confidence as a child.  For this very reason, I decided to enter the world of education so that I might be able to motivate and encourage children to believe in their abilities.

The Dot is a beautiful story about a girl named Vashti who is encouraged by her teacher to take a risk.  Vashti does not believe she can draw.  She is filled with self-doubt until her teacher gently persuades her to, “just make a mark and see where it takes you.” This inspirational story shows how one reluctant learner gains self-esteem with just one dot.  Once Vashti sees her artwork signed and framed, she is inspired to experiment more with dots.  The simple support of her teacher gives Vashti the confidence to take risks and to grow.  Vashti then passes on her teacher’s words of wisdom to another student who does not believe he can draw a straight line.  She hands him a paper and pencil and asks him to draw.  She then insists he sign his artwork. The author reminds us of the powerful influence of teachers.  We all share the responsibility to challenge a child’s preconceived notions and to encourage children to dream.

This book is an excellent tool to use with adults as well.  Consider reading this book to your colleagues at your next teacher in-service.  Adults in the helping profession should be reminded of the power they have to inspire children. All it takes is one adult to change a child’s life.  I have a pretty good feeling that if you are reading this review you are in fact one those adults.  I would also highly recommend using this book in your parenting workshops.

Discussion Dots

 International Dot Day

Did you know that September 15th is International Dot Day?  Peter H. Reynolds offers some great resources to use with your students!  Visit the following sites for some great ideas and extension activities to use with this book.

Dot Day printables

Book Video

Connect the Dot Worksheet Maker

The Dot Activities created by Shanna

I hope you enjoy the following activities I’ve created to use with students after sharing this excellent story.  Feel free to click on the links under both activity 1 &2 to print out.  You must be a member to access the handouts for activities 4, 5, and 6.

The Dot Activity #1: Connect the Dots

Connect the Dots

Pass out a dot to each student.  You may take their picture and glue it on one side of the dot.  Another option is to have the student decorate one side of the dot and write their name.  On the opposite side of the dot have the students write something they want to accomplish.  Once all of the students are finished creating their dots then connect the dots using a piece of yarn.  As a class, pick the perfect spot in the classroom to hang the dot garland.

Connect the Dots Handout

 The Dot Activity #2: Complete My Dot

Complete My Dot

This is a great activity to use with a group of four students.  You can adapt this activity for a larger group by breaking the students up into groups of four.  Each student will get a dot with four sections.  On the backside of the dot the student will write their name.  Each student in the group will write something unique, special or great about the person on one section of the dot.  When the dot is returned to the student he or she should have a complete dot with lots of positive words and messages from his or her classmates.

Complete My Dot

The Dot Activity #3: Dot Word Art

Dot Word Art

Each student will get a sheet of dots and an index card or piece of paper.  The student will use his or her dots to create an inspirational word or a word that describes him or her.

The Dot Activity #4: Musical Dots

Musical Dots

This game is played much like the original musical chairs.  Each chair will have a dot attached to it with a question or challenge written on the back.  The students will walk around the chairs until the music stops.  Once the music stops the students must find a chair to sit in.  The student who is without a chair will select a chair to pull from the circle.  The same student will then read what is written on the backside of the dot from the selected chair.  He or she will answer the question or perform the challenge.  The remaining students will continue walking around the chairs until the music stops.  The student left standing without a chair will select a chair and read the dot.  He or she will then answer the question or perform the challenge.  The game continues until there is only one student left.  He or she will be crowned the dot king or queen.  You may reward this student with a jar of dots (m&ms, skittles, etc.)

The Musical Dot handout is available on the lesson page for members only.

The Dot Activity #5: Dare Dots

Dare Dots

Each student will select a dot at random.  Each dot has a dare written on it.  The student will then be challenged to perform their dare dot.  There are also blank dots for students to create their own challenges.

The Dare Dots are available on the lesson page for members only.

 The Dot Activity #6: Dot Detective

The Dot Detective

Each student will be given a dot.  The student can either put his or picture on one side or write his or her name.  On the other side the student will write three unique facts about him or herself.  Make sure the students do not show their dot to anyone else.  You will then collect all of the dots and place each of them under a different number (1 through 16).  Each student will then receive a Do You Know the Dot handout.  Either you can read the clues out loud to the students or the students can examine each dot on their own.  The student will then write the name of the person they think the dot belongs to on their handout.  You will then reveal the picture or name of each dot and the students will mark their handout with either a check or an x depending on if they guessed correctly.  The students will add up their total of correct dot guesses.  The student who has the most correct answers is the Dot Detective winner!

The Dot Detective handouts are located on the lesson page for members only.