Shear Genius

By Kate Hassett

Shear Genius
Barber promotes reading through free haircuts

In Dubuque, Iowa, a barber has developed a creative way to incentivise children to read.

On Saturday, as part of the non-profit initiative ‘Back to School Bash’, Courtney Holmes opened the doors of his salon to any child who wanted a haircut. The catch? Courtney would give the children free haircuts as long as they read aloud to him in the chair.

The initiative was aimed at providing children with a safe place to read, work through anything they were struggling with and encourage students to strengthen their reading skills, one book at a time.

“The kids would come in, and I would say, ‘Go to the table and get a book you might like, and if you can’t read it, I’ll help you understand and we can read it together,'” Holmes told local media.

The initiative was part of a wider series of events that saw community groups and nonprofits giving away books in preparation for beginning of the school year.

At the commencement of the day, there were still boys waiting in line for a cut, so Courtney provided them with vouchers and told them to come back anytime for a free haircut – as long as they had a book to read with them.

The Spark Family Hair Salon will now continue its initiative with the ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ program that aims to promote early literacy.

In a country where astounding numbers of young adults are illiterate, Holmes is proving a beneficial community service that goes beyond providing free hair cuts and extends into providing the building blocks for a successful future.


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