We started our first ever Showcase event to showcase what we do to people new to TRO. (Many thanks to Penny – our Get Into Reading London Project Manager – for getting so many people along!) Jane kicked-off the action with an introduction to TRO, then our expecting audience had their chance to introduce themselves.
Then it was over to little old me, (as you can see in the above picture) to talk about what a GIR group is, how the sessions work and where the sessions run. A daunting task considering the huge amount of information to fit within 10 short minutes (or 600 seconds): to cover every group we do, this works out at almost 1 group every 2 seconds! Wow! I’m not that fast so it was back to the drawing board to speak from my bullet points. So, a few conversations regarding group members, a reminiscent show-and-tell of Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear?, and a Jammie Dodger joke later, it was over to Jane to speak more in depth about our Reading Revolution and tell them the powerful story of Molly.
Reading Robert Frost’s poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ was the breakthrough point for Molly’s story, who’s had a very tough life. After Jane had told the story, then she promptly read the poem aloud to us all. A tear fell (my first witnessed tear at The Reader Organisation), the lady to the right of me had tried to hide the fact she had just sneaked out her tissue but I was eagle eyed while she was teary eyed (and she was to later go on to joyously proclaim that she had bought a copy of A Little, Aloud, and loved it might I add).
Penny’s knowledge of TRO had me most impressed. Everybody was extremely engrossed with the day’s activities and the atmosphere was truly electric. The discussion regarding Ashworth High Secure Unit (one of Mersey Care NHS Trust’s sites) and our work there was highly moving indeed.
One of our attendees, visibly enthused by the day, was barely in a position to contain herself before proclaiming:
We live in a world were language has been left behind and with The Reader Organisation the ordinary has become the extraordinary.
Can you top that? I can’t… This is just my feeble attempt to put the day into the confines of mere vocabulary.
We pause for a break, as we TRO folk like to do (you should know we can not go more than an hour without a cup of tea and a pile of biscuits), a moment of laughter hails throughout the break time as we discover, yes you guessed it… Jammie Dodgers. I went off to fetch a pale of water – where was the pun? There was none at all – and arrived back with a jug of water in my arms and my Jammie Ds had been swiftly taken away! Well, you can imagine my face after all that biscuit talk, it looked somewhat like this :-O
Onwards to a question and answer session, with people enquiring as to whether everyone gets a copy of the book you’re reading in the group? What books do you read with people from other cultures? Is there no peeking? And what books to read to a 12-year-old?
We ran way past our time limit (it was that sort of occasion) before an impromptu reading of, ‘And Yet The Books’, possibly our new patriotic poem for TRO, which drew the event to a high energy, and explosive, yet calming completion.
Well, look forward to seeing you at our next Showcase event, we hope you can make it to one of these:
Monday 15th November, 2pm – 4pm: Birmingham
Monday 29th November, 2pm-4pm: London
Showcases are free events but you must book your place in order to attend. To book your place, or to find out more, please contact Mark Till, Training Officer, on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0151 794 2286