Reading to young kids is a sweet way to motivate learning and foster togetherness in a society where books and printed stories are becoming less and less appreciated. But a barbershop in Pennsylvania is prompting kids to instead read to them as a way to strengthen their literacy skills and build confidence.
City Cuts Barbershop in Kutztown offers more than just haircuts. Their youngest clients are encouraged to read aloud from a book of their choice while their hair gets buzzed and snipped (for the enticing reward of $3, of course). The initiative is called “Books by Kids,” and according to the barbershop’s social media, it's a way to promote confidence in inner city kids and curb a fear of public speaking from growing.
A study from last year reported that nearly 75 percent of adults have anxiety about public speaking, stemming from a fear of judgment, a statistic that City Cuts Barbershop recognizes and aims to decrease.
Barber Jerry Jones and shop owner John Escueta began having kids read aloud -- whether it’s a sentence, a page or a full book -- a year ago; the idea came from their own difficulty with public speaking.
"Just the courage for them to do it...I don't think I would have ever did it as a kid, no matter how much money was on the line," Escueta told WFMZ.
Reading aloud is nothing but practice speaking in front of other people, and when you're comfortable with what’s coming out of your mouth, of course you’ll be more confident, say, making a speech or doing a presentation. Escueta and Jones hope they can make the boys coming to their barbershop better able to present themselves well in the future.
"Soon as we got the books, we just needed the kids, and once the kids came, it just worked out perfectly," Jones shared.
It’s a fantastic showing of community service, and it’s also just adorable.