barber reading

Encouraging kids to read as much as possible is so important to their success in school and life in general. Not only does it help them master language and communication skills and develop logical and critical thinking skills, reading can expose them to new experiences and ideas beyond that of their immediate environment.

I'm a fan of however adults can get kids to read more, and I especially love how Iowa barber Courtney Holmes traded back-to-school haircuts for kids reading him a story. Such a fun idea!

Last Saturday, Holmes brought his clippers to his community's Back to School Bash, an annual event that helps families get ready for the new school year. More than 100 kids attended the gathering in Dubuque's Comiskey Park, and Holmes enjoyed his storytimes while giving trims to the students seated in his barber chair. Holmes even helped some of the younger readers sound out words they didn't know yet, according to Beth McGorry, outreach coordinator for the The St. Mark Youth Enrichment organization, which was handing out books at the event.

"All the kids, they want to have a good haircut to go back to school," said Caitlin Daniels, grade-level reading coordinator with the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, who also helped struggling readers in the barber chair. "They're paying through reading."

Awesome job, Barber Courtney Holmes and everyone at the Back to School Bash!

Ellen Sturm Niz is a New York City-based editor and writer who loves having her daughter read to her. Check out Ellen's new Etsy shop and follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.