More Than Just The Fonz

"Aaaaayyyy!" If you grew up in the '70's (I know, I'm older than most of you. . .), you grew up watching Happy Days and know Henry Winkler as the Fonz. (I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but my favorite exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of American History was seeing Fonzie's leather jacket. . . )  But did you know he is also an author and has written over 30 books?! We had the joy of meeting Henry Winkler as he spoke to our students about perseverance, despite having dyslexia. He began with, "You are all powerful people. Every one of you has greatness inside you. Your job is to figure out what that greatness is."
Winkler was so real and honest, as he shared about his own struggles in school. He was called "dumb dog" in German by his own parents and his teachers did not expect much from him . . . until Mr. Rock. This was the teacher (below) that discovered Winkler's dyslexia, yet believed in him. This was THE teacher that made the difference.
Winkler shared about his dream of becoming an actor, despite his family and friends laughing at him and discouraging him. He told our students, "Nobody can tell you, you can't meet your dream. If you put one foot in front of the other, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish."
Winkler wrote the series: Hank Zipzer, the World's Greatest Underachiever. He advised our students to "write what you know. Write 10 minutes a day." My kids love this series because Hank Zipzer is such a relatable character.
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Winkler encouraged our students, "No matter how difficult school is for you, it has nothing to do with how brilliant you are." Talk about having a growth mindset!  Having an author visit always motivates students to write, especially when they see and hear that authors are real people. Which authors have spoken to your school?


  1. Well that's fun!!! Sara Donkersloot spoke at our school - she lives in my small town when not in Alaska.

    1. That's great! It's so wonderful for our students to see "real life" authors; they make such a connection!