These Barbers Are Encouraging Kids To Read

Be sure to pack up a book or two the next time you take your kids in for a trim, because haircut discounts for reading books are now offered at barbershops across the U.S. This rule unfortunately only applies to kids, so, as much as you'd love to read a lengthy passage from Jane Eyre to your stylist, your expensive chop probably won't get any cheaper for it.

At the Fuller Cut barbershop in Ypsilanti, Michigan, children's haircuts are $2 cheaper if the child reads aloud to their barber during the cut. Fuller Cut barber Ryan Griffin was inspired by a similar program in Harlem. Within a few weeks of implementing the program in Ypsilanti, members of the community "were donating books to the cause," according to NPR.

Kids can get haircut discounts for reading books across the country, and the number of participating barbershops is growing. In Dubuque, Iowa, Courtney Holmes doesn't just give haircut discounts for reading books. He cuts bookish children's hair for free during Tales 4 Trims events at the Spark Family Salon. Each child who attends a Tales 4 Trims event receives a free bag of books as well.

The Groomed for Literacy program in Houston puts Little Free Libraries in barbershops across the city. Each Little Free Library is kept well-stocked with children's books, as well as cards that inform young readers and their parents of Houston Public Library branches near them. Groomed for Literacy also offers incentives, such as discounted haircuts and free books to take home, based on the number of books a child has read.

Alvin Irby's Harlem-based Barbershop Books program works to create designated, "child-friendly reading spaces" within barbershops, as part of its mission to "[h]elp black boys ages 4-8 identify as readers by connecting books and reading to a male-centered space and by involving men in boys early reading experiences." At the time of this writing, there are 20 barbershops in New York and Ohio participating in the Barbershop Books program.

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