The barbershop in Ypsilanti, Michigan created a program to encourage literacy in kids by reading while getting their hair cut.
Barber of 20 years, Ryan Griffin, was inspired by the idea of having kids read aloud to their barbers after hearing of it in other countries, so he began bringing old books from their house.
He created the Read To A Barber Program. The best part is the kids get a $2 discount on their hair cut!
“Parents love it and the kids … well, they like getting the two dollars back,” Ryan said. “We get compliments from teachers all the time, too.”
The idea isn’t just to promote literacy, but also inspire the young customers through the positive images the books contain about African-Americans.
“When little kids that don’t really know how to read or what’s going on see an older kid in the chair with a book and then grab a book too, that’s what’s important.”
“Some kids go to class and they’re afraid to read out loud, but this really builds their confidence.”
He also keeps track of the progress of his kid customers. He would make them pick up the same book the next time they come back if they were not able to finish reading it.
“If we can get kids to come back to Fuller Cut as adults in college and they tell us, ‘Because you guys had us read here, it made me want to be a writer or journalist,’ that’s really the end goal.”
“And that’s just how it started. It wasn’t anything grand. I just wanted to be responsible,” Ryan said. “I hope people reading this and feel the same way go to their barbershop or beauty salons and tell them about this program as well.”