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This year's Tolkien Reading Day on 25th March was met with enthusiasm by schools and libraries around the world from Plymouth to Poland and across America.
Tolkien Reading Dayis an event was aimed at encouraging the use of Tolkien's works in education and to get schoolteachers and library staff to participate in reading Tolkien to their classes and in their libraries. Building on last year's successful launch of the event schools and libraries across Britain from Plymouth to Orkney took part with readings, discussions or other activities. Around the world Reading Day events, occurred in places as near as Liphook and London or as far apart as Poland, New Jersey and Wisconsin, USA. Events included readings to classes, running dance classes, getting reading groups to read and discuss chapters from The Lord of the Rings, or even just setting up a group to do things; some school students have set up Tolkien clubs and so will be expanding their activities on next year's Reading Day.
The following are some examples of what library, school staff, students and ordinary people did
to celebrate "the Downfall of the Lord of the Rings and the Return of the King".
Please bear in mind that the Tolkien Society and all its local groups are run by volunteers in their spare time.
Caroline B (a vet and mother of two in Ongar, UK) taught her Brownies group hobbit dances, on the evening before and on Reading Day itself read from The Hobbit at her daughter's primary school. Caroline made a Bag End front door & 13 dwarf hoods in appropriate colours and read the first part of the story, she then gave out copies of Thror's map for the children to decipher the rune messages on it.
Denise P (a teaching assistant at a Regional Catholic School in Frederick, MD, USA) presented a 45 min. program to 56 8th graders, giving a background on Prof. Tolkien, his works and why he was such an important writer. The presentation covered a small portion of the rather large collection of Tolkien's books, ranging from The Hobbit, to Father Christmas Letters, Mr. Bliss, and of course, The Lord of the Rings. Nearly half of the class had read The Hobbit, and most of The Lord of the Rings. This was followed by a question and answer session, some of it relating to the movies, some of the author himself. But more importantly, Denise won over a language arts teacher, who up to this point, had very little interest in or knowledge of Tolkien's writings. The Tolkien Society's promotional items were well received and to wrap up the class, Denise read from the Fellowship of the Ring, and the conversation between Frodo and Gandalf, as the hobbit is made aware of the true power and evil of the Ring given to him by Bilbo.
Jo G (a librarian at a comprehensive school in Liphook, UK) asked for promotional items which became a 3D Tolkien display thanks to the work of two schoolgirls. Jo also ran a tricky Tolkien quiz which has had pupils cudgelling their brains over the weekend - who says you can't motivate teenagers these days?
Saving the most innovative to last Nettle B (a senior at Stern College for Women (Yeshiva University) in New York, USA) celebrated by taking a copy of The Return of the King to college with her and accosting people, asking them to read out a passage. If they did, she made them stickers with a phrase from The Lord of the Rings on it (eg "Use Well the Days", "All that is gold does not glitter, Not all who wander are lost") All of them had "Tolkien Reading Day: March 25" on the bottom. By the end of the day, lots of people were wearing stickers, and lots of people who had never read Tolkien had been given a pleasurable new experience. Some people liked their passages so much they decided to read LotR for themselves. It was a lot of fun, and a great way to enjoy Tolkien!