Iowa Barber Gave Free Back-to-School Haircuts to Kids as Long as They Read to Him

Stephen A. Crockett Jr.
Generic image

A Dubuque, Iowa, barber figured he would do his part to help the community get ready for the upcoming school year, so on Saturday he offered children haircuts, with the only payment being that they had to read a book to the barber.

"I just want to support kids reading," barber Courtney Holmes, who set up shop at the second annual Back-to-School Bash in Comiskey Park, told the Telegraph Herald.


St. Mark Youth Enrichment was at the event giving away books, some of which were used to read to Holmes. Holmes helped children sound out words they'd never read before.

Nine-year-old Tayshawn Kirby read from Fats, Oils and Sweets, by Carol Parenzan Smalley. Both barber and student were shocked to learn from the book that the average person eats "150 pounds of sugar each year."

"It's great. All the kids, they want to have a good haircut to go back to school," Caitlin Daniels, the grade-level reading coordinator who also jumped in to help struggling readers sound out words, told the Herald. "They're paying through reading."

Holmes isn't the first barber in the country to promote reading while getting a fresh shape-up.


Last year, barber Reggie Ross took the TV and Internet out of his Royal Touch Barbershop in West Palm Beach, Fla., and replaced them with books.

"The barbershop is based on men coming together, grooming each other to become better men, and I think books and education is a fundamental part of that," Ross told WPTV.


Ross told the news station that he wants to be a part of bettering his community, which last year boasted a 50 percent graduation rate for black boys.

"I think it helps them with their literacy, the speed of reading and comprehension," Ross told WPTV. "I would love to see more graduation and education to reduce the violence and increase the economics of the community."


Read more at the Telegraph Herald and WPTV.

Share This Story