Saw this Linky Party while visiting Reading Toward the Stars' blog and had to chime in with one of my all-time favorite books to read to my students, that also has a special meaning to me. My book for book talk Thursday is The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds.
I came across this picture book at one of my college book stores when taking my block classes before student teaching and graduating. It was one of many that I grabbed that day, as I was searching for a good book to use in my very first lesson to my very first group of First graders. (I was so excited.) Armed with three or four books (The Dot being one of them), I went back to my college apartment to plan my lesson for the kiddos. Although all the books I had chosen that day were all great their own way, The Dot shined above them all.
Vashti believes she cannot draw, but when her teacher gently tells her to “just make a mark, and see where it takes you” she draws a giant blob on a blank sheet of paper and signs her name. The next week, to Vashti's surprise, her art teacher has framed the dot and has it proudly hanging up. With the encouragement from her teacher, Vashti begins her journey of artistic freedom and self-discovery, becoming more confident than she had ever been.
I finished the book in tears because not only did I find the book I was to read to my very first group of students - EVER! I knew - in my heart - that was the type of teacher I wanted to become, the kind that INSPIRES.
The Dot speaks to the choice teachers make every day: to be a symbol of negativity in a child's life, or to be a symbol of hope, encouragement, and inspiration in a child's life. It also sends a positive message to children that if they are just to try, something extraordinary can come of it.
As a final note, if you look at my blog banner it has a quote inspired by the book - "Make your mark... and see where it takes you."I have carried this quote with me since the very first time I read it aloud to that first group of children 8 years ago, and I will continue to carry it with me.
If you are ever having a down day in the classroom read this book - it will lift you right up!
Also remember, if you are feeling stuck and unsure - remember to just