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Want a Back-to-School Haircut? Pick up a Book

Bartering at its best

Courtney Holmes Iowa Barber

You've heard of singing for your dinner, but what about reading for a haircut? An Iowa barber is hoping to turn reluctant readers into bookworms one snip at a time.  

Courtney Holmes welcomed kids from K to grade five to choose a book from his selection in exchange for a back-to-school hair cut.  

Aware of the importance of creating a positive association with literacy from a young age, the dad-of-two offered up his services at a community event aimed at helping children prepare for the coming school year.  

While some kids breezed through the words, others grew self-conscious and faltered. 

"... if you can't read it, I'll help you understand and we can read it together," said Holmes, a barber at Spark Family Hair Salon.  

With a long line of eager kids even as the event wrapped up, Holmes had to hand out vouchers for free cuts, with a reminder to "bring a book."  

Interesting that the salon happens to be called "Spark" because Holmes's idea seems to be catching. His employer now plans to make a monthly event out of the reading service. People have already been sending free books to help the salon build up a library. 

Whatever gets kids reading has got to be a good thing in my books. 

As a former tutor, I saw too many cases of children who needed reading help. If they didn't get that practice and encouragement early on, they grew more embarrassed and reluctant to pick up a book the older they got. 

And I can tell you there is nothing quite so sad as watching a child shut down and give up on themselves like that.  

Image Source: YouTube

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