A Michigan barbershop has found a creative way to encourage kids to pick up an actual book – by giving them a discount for reading aloud.
After hearing about similar programs in places like New York City and Tampa, 44-year-old Ryan Griffin of The Fuller Cut in Ypsilanti couldn’t ignore the brilliant, yet “simplistic” idea and brought it to Michigan, ABC News reported.
“It was the responsible thing to do in the community,” Griffin said.
Griffin has accumulated nearly 100 books since launching the program in August 2015. He made sure to stock his bookshelves with literature picked out specially for his customer base, which is largely black or mixed race.
“One thing I said I would never [compromise] is that they have to be all positive African-American books,” he said. “I want kids to pick up something that looks like them and that’s a positive story about them.”
Parents not only love the discounted prices but seeing their children read outside the classroom as well – and their enthusiasm is shared by their kids.
“Oh, they love it,” Griffin said. “We have some kids that come in with their owns books because they’ve been in the program for so long now.”
The lesson Griffin said he’s learned from initiating the program is that everyone in the community can contribute in their own way.
“There’s no such thing as ‘I’m doing just a little thing,’” he said. “I can see that I’m helping a kid who’s having trouble reading.”
Griffin said that breaking “the ice” in the barbershop and getting kids comfortable with reading there will help them go to school “with just a little more confidence.”