Boys, Books and Barbers
In a 2014 survey of just over 1,000 children ages 6 to 17, only 31 percent said they read a book for fun almost daily, down from 37 percent four years ago. There were some consistent patterns among the heavier readers: For the younger children (ages 6 to 11) being read aloud to regularly and having restricted online time were correlated with frequent reading; for the older children (ages 12 to 17) one of the largest predictors was whether they had time to read on their own during the school day. The Motivated Men, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has a partnership with the Friends of the Public Library and the City of Inglewood to provide enjoyable, interesting and age appropriate reading material in local barber shops for the youth in our community. The concept of books in the barber shop for our youth is not new. Barbershop Books has enlisted several barber shop in Harlem and Brooklyn, New York and are reported to have had a positive influence in those communities. Alvin Irby, the founder of Barbershop Books, states the program is designed to be low-maintenance and low-cost. It entails a small wood case with 15 books in the barbershop’s seating area. Barbers agree to encourage children to read while they wait. Unlike a library, children cannot check out books, though popular titles do get permanently borrowed, and Irby budgets enough to replace missing books each month.
Dads with Donuts
On February 26 the Motivated Men joined concerned dads for a early morning discussion of the importance of early childhood reading. The Dads with Donuts reading program was describe by the Principal and teachers at Coliseum Street Elementary School as a much needed addition to the curriculum. Thanks Dads