RES joins over 19 million to celebrate “International Dot Day”

Richland Elementary School (RES) has joined over 19 million children and adults around the globe in 195 countries to celebrate International Dot Day on Wednesday, September 15. A grassroots “creativity and courage” movement, started in 2009 by a teacher in Iowa and inspired by New York Times best-selling author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds’ classic storybook for all ages The Dot, International Dot Day inspires young and old to embrace the power of personal creativity to help make their mark on the world, and move it to a better place.

International Dot Day began ten years ago when Iowa teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Reynolds’ book, and his students noticed the original publishing date of The Dot was September 15, 2003. The students decided to celebrate the book’s birthday – and, little did they know, launched what would become a worldwide celebration of creativity and courage to “make your mark.”

“The Dot, is an invitation to students to be creative, and experience a breakthrough in confidence and courage, igniting a journey of self-discovery and sharing,” said Shay, a public-school teacher for over two decades “Every great teacher works for those transformational moments.”

Exploring the themes of creativity, bravery, and self-expression, The Dot is a story of a perceptive and caring teacher who reaches a reluctant student who thinks she can’t draw by encouraging her to be brave enough to “just make a mark and see where it takes you.” The Dot has been translated into multiple languages (including Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Hebrew, Spanish, and even Braille) and the animated film of The Dot (produced by Reynolds’ multi-media design and development firm FableVision Studios and co-producer Scholastic) earned the Carnegie Medal of Excellence.

After launching in 2009, International Dot Day garnered increasing attention, simply through word of mouth, in schools, libraries, and communities around the globe. By 2011, registrations had reached 17,500 participants in several states. Noticing the phenomenon, The Reynolds Center for Teaching, Learning, & Creativity (, Reynolds’ nonprofit educational R&D and creative learning support center, helped provide program support for the worldwide Dot Day event. The organization built and manages The Dot Club website (, which provides free registration for the event, along with many free resources, including downloadable Dot Day Educator’s Handbook, multilingual posters, and an official participation certificate. With the Reynolds Center’s help, participation soared past the 850,000 marks in 2012 – and, by 2013 involvement grew to 1.3 million participants in eighty-four countries. The count now stands at over thirteen million in 181 countries.

Shay can’t quite believe how Dot Day has caught on, “The success of International Dot Day is owed to many people who believed in a more creative and connected world and made it happen.”

Indeed, Dot Day celebrations now take many forms; from short art workshops where students make dots and sign them to animating dot-inspired art/stories on the computer, from weeklong school-wide celebrations to a year-long theme for a school district. Teachers are also celebrating Dot Day by using online video streaming to “connect the dots” with other classrooms around the globe.

A copy of The Dot was even rocketed into space, and read by Canadian Astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield serving as Commander aboard the International Space Station. The Dot’s the author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds explains, “Commander Hadfield snapped a few photos of The Dot book floating in the cupola of the space station. On the last day of his recent Boston visit, he handed me my book, which he had signed, noting that this copy…had made 2,500 trips around the big blue dot – planet Earth.”

RES is planning to celebrate Dot Day by dressing up in dots, reading The Dot, and participating in a Flipgrid event where students will learn more about the author.

About International Dot Day, visit For the official Dot Day Twitter feed, follow @DotClubConnect. Find International Dot Day on Facebook at

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