The Little Dot

Little Dot floats high in the sky and dreams of joining the festivities below. But a dot has no form, no dimension, so how can that be? Thanks to a magical fairy, Little Dot’s wishes are granted, and the reader is introduced to how shapes (lines, angles, triangles and rectangles) are formed.

The story celebrates the power of friendship and teamwork as these dots and lines work together in creating new shapes. Their end goal is to participate in the festival of lights with one of the classic symbols, the Christmas tree.

Hope and empowerment are other themes that surface in this story. Little Dot is feeling alone but rather than staying in a state of despair, it asks for help. As the story unfolds, and as the shapes problem-solve to achieve their goal of producing a ‘spiky thing that holds lights’, they demonstrate the power of optimism and persistence.

This story integrates math (geometry) and reading literacy. During a read-out-loud, a classroom can investigate shape creation. It can then be taken further with students experimenting by manipulating various stick shapes into angles, triangles and quadrilaterals.

Last, this story plays with synonyms for the following words. The reader is given examples of how multiple words different words can be interchanged for descriptive purposes.

The front cover of the Little Dot by MC Rolston which features a large sad face drawing with tears streaming down the cheeks.

The front cover of The Little Dot

MC Rolston reading at a school visit

School Visit: What Can You Expect?

  • In costume, I will read the story to a group of students, (The suggested maximum is no more than three classes. The reading would be more effective with one or two classes)

  • A copy of the book for the school

  • The option to use the book as a fundraiser. I will ask for $7.00 to cover my cost and the school or the classroom can set their own price for instance, the book could be sold for $12 which is almost 5 dollars less than regular retail price

  • Depending on time availability, I will conduct a writing workshop with the students in your class

Inspiration for the Story

When teaching grade four at Hillsdale Elementary School in Hamilton, in the early 2000s, the students acted out the story for our December holiday concert. It was a way to provide a story that was more inclusive of many cultures that celebrate the festival of lights, while still embracing the classic symbol of light, the Christmas tree.

In addition, it was during this time that literacy and curriculum integration was a primary focus for our school board. Math read-alouds were becoming popular, however, there weren’t many on the market.

The Little Dot became a story that integrated Math, Language Arts, Drama and Social Skills (teamwork).

Guide for Reading: PRC

Predictions, Reflections and Connections

Predictions

Predicting is an essential tool when developing as a strong reader. This story has been written to hook the young audience in engaging in predictable events.

Ask the following questions:

What do you think Little Dot was missing?

Who do you think will help the Little Dot?

What do you think is Little Dot’s name? What might rhyme with Ned, Ted and Ed?

What do you think they are going to make for the festival of lights?

What are the dots going to make with line Jed?

What do you think will happen when Zed arrives?

Will the Christmas Fairy grant a fourth wish?

What will the fairy create with the two triangles?

Reflections

Reflecting throughout a book makes the story extra personal and come alive. It reflects a Reader’s level of comprehension. A more thoughtful and complex reflection and connection reveal a higher understanding of the story. They also help reinforce one’s memory sequence which forms the basis of a retelling with more detail and reference to nuance. A simple and literal retelling reflects a more simplistic understanding.

Use the following questions for points of discussion:

Do you see shapes in nature?

What kinds of shapes do you see throughout your day?

Do you ever feel lonely?

Do you find it easier to share doing things with others? Why?

What is your favourite time of year and why?

What do you like best about Christmas/Festivals of Light?

Connections

Making connections facilitates a deeper understanding of a story through making inferences, noting details and relating them to prior information. It is seeing, linking, and articulating other topics and events to the story. The reader is applying this reading experience to other learned information. Often when making connections the reader will arrive at exciting new insights that extend beyond the literal story.

Use the following questions for points of discussion:

How many cultures do you know that celebrate a festival of lights in December?

Describe your favourite part of the holiday season in December?

How many different tree shapes can you create with triangles and rectangles?

What is the starting point of any shape?

How many different stars can you create with two triangles?

Additional Resources

Festival of Lights

Lines and Angles

Everything Starts With a Point

Triangles