Dot to Dot in the Sky Literacy – Author presentations that build reading and writing skills
When it comes to helping students find the joy in reading and writing, the sky’s the limit for astronomy author, storyteller, and freelance writer, Joan Marie Galat. In lively presentations that blend facts, storytelling, self-editing, and writing tips, Joan launches reluctant readers into books.
Students of all ages find it hard to resist the lure of constellations, exploding stars, and black holes. From ancient myths to the marvels of space, Joan also intrigues young writers with her story of becoming a paid columnist at age 12. By the end of a presentation, students will head to the library to take out books and appreciate the idea that writing can be fun. They’ll also know how to find the North Star.
Joan’s presentations, perfect for grabbing the attention of all ages, provide links to science and social studies curriculums. Chris Hadfield, Dr. Roberta Bondar, and other astronauts and experts have read and endorsed Joan’s books. Here’s a selection of their back cover endorsements, along with comments from teachers, librarians, and students.
- Hosts may request Aboriginal stories, Inuit content, or stories from other cultures featured in the Dot to Dot in the Sky series.
- Ask about virtual presentations via Skype and large group presentations with a stiltwalking grande finale. During the question and answer session, I’ll put on stilts that make me nearly nine feet high, and explain how stiltwalking and reading skills are connected.
☐ Pictures in the Sky (Grades K-2)
Joan uses science and storytelling to introduce the wonders of the night sky. She reveals how to find the North Star and constellations, and leads a game called “Picture Book: Fact or Fiction.” Joan shares the most important point to remember to become a better writer and juggles star-shaped beanbags to reinforce the importance of reading (by explaining she learned to juggle from a book). A question and answer period is included. Follow-up activity sheets are provided to extend presentation benefits. Based on the Dot to Dot in the Sky series.
☐ Write and Explore the Night (Grades 3-6)
Joan uses science and storytelling to introduce the wonders of the night sky. She explains what happens when stars explode and black holes form, as well as how to find constellations and the North Star. Joan inspires future authors with her story of how she was first published at the age of 12. She shares rough copies to reinforce the need for “writers at all levels” to revise their work, and discusses the writing process and how to come up with ideas. Students learn the two most important things to remember to become a better writer. Joan reinforces literacy by juggling star-shaped beanbags, making sure student understand she learned to juggle from reading a nonfiction book. A question and answer period is included and follow-up activity sheets provided to extend presentation benefits.
☐ The Northern Lights (Stories of the Aurora) (Grades 4-12)
Early cultures looked up at the same night sky we see today, seeking connections between what happened on Earth and what occurred overhead. They told stories to explain the shimmering northern lights and other night sky phenomena. Discover the science and legends of the lights, as well as the relationship between art, science, and nature in our Earth-sky environment. A question and answer period follows. Based on Dot to Dot in the Sky, Stories of the Aurora and Dark Matters, Nature’s Reaction to Light Pollution.
☐ Dark Matters – Nature’s Reaction to Light Pollution (Grades 3-12 or family audiences)
From nesting turtles, to migrating birds, light pollution affects more than just humans. Discover how our need to light the world affects wildlife and people, and hear stories that connect to a fascinating world only a light switch away.
☐ Branching Out – Trees by Number (Grades 3-6)
Find out why trees matter to people, animals, and the planet while exploring the science of trees through numbers. How many species exist? How high is the tallest? How many ways can you use a tree? It all adds up in this interactive session for young dendromaniacs—people who love trees. Discussion on what’s involved in writing a nonfiction book, and a question and answer period follow. Based on Branching Out, How Trees are Part of Our World.
☐ Password to Publishing (Grades 7-9)
Launched with celestial storytelling, this junior high presentation includes how Joan became a paid writer in grade eight. Joan discusses challenges of the
writing life, using personal stories to show how she built her skills and how perseverance benefits anyone pursuing a dream. Joan offers tips on writing, revising, and finding writing topics, followed by a question and answer period. Hosts may extend presentation benefits by accessing writing resources on Joan’s website.
☐ Write Your Own Future (Grades 10-12)
Expanding on the junior high content described above, Joan discusses writing as a career, noting that most writing in adult life is fact-based. She shares her experience writing in different styles including speechwriting, websites, and radio commercials. Joan delivers the message that good writing is essential in all career fields, particularly with changing technology and competitive environments.
☐ Solve This! (Grades 4-7 or ask about a version for higher grades.) (Available after March 2018 release of Solve This! Wild and Wacky Challenges for the Genius Engineer in You)
From bubble wrap to bridges, the miracles of engineering are all around you. Find out how engineers dream up new ideas and bring them to life, and discover what happens when things go wrong! Get ready to help tackle some rather unusual problems during this presentation based on Solve This! Wild and Wacky Challenges for the Genius Engineer in You by Joan Marie Galat and published by National Geographic Kids. Visit www.joangalat.com for details.
Family Literacy Events
Dot to Dot in the Sky
Joan Marie Galat introduces the wonders of the night sky using storytelling to share ancient myths, interspersed with astronomy facts. Her enthusiasm for stargazing is contagious and leaves attendees ready to locate constellations and explore the mysteries of the night sky on their own. Dot to Dot in the Sky can be offered as an evening star gazing session.
Dark Matters – Nature’s Reaction to Light Pollution
From nesting turtles, to migrating birds, light pollution affects more than just humans. Discover how our need to light the world affects wildlife and people. Joan discusses how her writing process evolved to include personal tales to connect readers to ecology. She encourages audience members to read fact-based books and write their own stories. A question and answer period is included. Based on Joan’s nonfiction book, Dark Matters, Nature’s Reaction to Light Pollution.