A Michigan-based barbershop is spreading the message that “reading is fundamental.” The Fuller Cut establishment encourages their adolescent customers to read books aloud in exchange for a $2 discount, The Huffington Post reports. Once their shape up or cut is over, the barbers most likely return the $2 to their precocious clients.
“Patrons love it and the kids… well, they like getting the two dollars back,” said barber Ryan Griffin, the pioneer of the initiative. “We get compliments from teachers all the time, too.”
Griffin said the books, that predominantly feature African American characters, were gathered from his house that his three children used to frequent. “And that’s just how it started. It wasn’t anything grand,” he said. “I just wanted to be responsible. I hope people reading this feel the same way go to their barbershop or beauty salons and tell them about this program as well.”
On the subject content of the novels, Griffin said, “All our books have positive images of African-Americans — whether it’s astronauts, athletes or writers.” He also added that the kids are influenced by others around their age when they see someone engulfed in a book in the shop.
“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,” he said. “Because when a kid thinks it’s cool to read, that’s a gift.”
Other programs that push forward a similar cause include Barbershop Books, which made its way to Harlem, New York City earlier this month with NFL player, Javaris Jenkins.
CEO of the company, Alvin Irby, told NBC that their mission “is to help young black boys and other boys of color to identify as readers by connecting books and reading to a male centered space by involving men.”