As library people, we support literacy and reading programs no matter where they are found. Building good readers, and more opportunities for kids to read is great – and this program sounds both fun and so good for building literacy!
If you would like to get involved, and to help support a barbershop, or to suggest a location, check in here!
Barbershop Books is the debut program of Reading Holiday Project, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit literacy organization in New York City. Developed in Harlem, Barbershop Books is a community-based program that creates child-friendly reading spaces in barbershops across America. We leverage the cultural significance of barbershops in black communities to increase boys’ access to culturally relevant, age appropriate, and gender responsive children’s books and to increase out-of-school time reading among young black boys.
Help black boys ages 4-8 to identify as readers by connecting books and reading to a male-centered space and by involving men in boys’ early reading experiences.
THE LITERACY CHALLENGE
According to the United States Department of Education, more than 85% of America’s black male 4th grade students are not proficient in reading.
In an increasingly global and knowledge-based economy, poor reading skills among young black boys today will produce black men who are unprepared to compete in the workforce of tomorrow. Four key factors contribute to low reading proficiency among black boys: (1) limited access to engaging and age appropriate reading material; (2) lack of black men in black boys’ early reading experiences; (3) few culturally competent educators; and (4) schools that are unresponsive to black boys’ individual learning styles.