Barbershop Gives Discounts To Kids Who Read Aloud During Haircuts

Barbershops have long been special places within communities where laughs and life lessons are shared over haircuts. Now, a barbershop in Michigan is gaining attention for its efforts to support its youngest customers by encouraging learning with a discount to match, The Huffington Post reports.

Located in Ypsilanti, Michigan, The Fuller Cut Barbershop gives discounts to children who read books aloud during their appointment.

Ryan Griffin, a barber at Fuller Cuts, started the program after hearing about other barbershops around the country offering similar discounts. Last year, barber Courtney Holmes implemented such a program in Dubuque, Iowa. Holmes wanted to get kids ready for school not only with haircuts but by encouraging good reading habits.

It's important to Griffin that the kids visiting his shop aren't reading just any book either. All of the books offered feature positive portrayals of African Americans.

"Parents love it and the kids like getting the two dollars back," Griffin told The Huffington Post. "We get compliments from teachers all the time."

Griffin brought old books he had at home and asked for book donations from others as well.

Griffin told the Huffington Post that customers and the community are so enthusiastic about the program that it's even attracting new customers. He says he hopes that this becomes something all barbershops and beauty salons do in the future, sending a message to children in the community that reading is cool.

"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," Griffin told the Huffington Post.

The story gets even better.

Kids don't just come in, read and then get forgotten. Griffin follows the progress of all the kids participating in the reading program. He likes to see that their reading is improving, especially the ones who come to the barbershop often.

Because reading aloud often doesn't come easily to children, Griffin hopes the program will give them the confidence to stand in front of their class and read, helping them not only now, but in the long run.

“If we can get kids to come back to the 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,” he says.