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.
“A few years ago, a friend told me about a dinner party where he’d bonded with another guest over their mutual loathing of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. The woman — an English professor — described the time she spent reading the novel as “three months of my life I’ll never get back.”
I was supposed to be amused by that. Instead, I was irritated — and not just with her lazy use of one of those prepackaged lines you see too often on social media.
My reaction had nothing to do with the merits of Infinite Jest, either, since I haven’t read it. As much as I love Wallace’s nonfiction, I’ve read enough about the book — including via D.T. Max’s excellent biography: Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace — to believe the novel wouldn’t be my cup of tea.
No, my annoyance mostly stemmed from shock that someone whose job includes assigning reading to students would say something so stupid.
Just in case you needed any encouragement for fitting in some extra bedtime reading, this article from Bustle makes a strong case for the reasons why it’s actually healthy to read before falling asleep. (Although it does note the difference between getting so hooked into your book that you end up reading instead of sleeping, which is not the goal!)
Here are a few reasons from the article regarding why reading before bed is a great idea:
- Retain more: “When you sleep, your brain dumps all of your short term memory goo into the long term memory goo-reserves (in a manner of speaking). That means that the things you read right before bed stick with you better in the long run.”
- Calming ritual: “Reading is the perfect kind of ritual: it forces you to lie down and cut out the distractions, it’s quiet, and it doesn’t get boring because you’re always reading something new.”
- Better focus: “Not only does reading boost your concentration in general, reading before bed will help you concentrate more on whatever it is you’re reading in the moment. You won’t be battling ten thousand other distractions.”
(From the Daily Collegian, by Erin O’Neill)
“Students looking for a quick read on the way to class may be in luck.
Penn State became the first educational institution in the world to collaborate with Short Edition, a French-based company that produces dispensers to print free short stories.
The goal of the partnership is to foster discussion on creative story-telling and promote the arts and humanities.
There are four dispensers in Penn State’s libraries, as well as one downtown at the Schlow Library.
The other two dispensers are in the Architecture and Landscape Architecture Library in Stuckeman Building and the Physical and Mathematical Sciences Library in Davey Lab.
Since being installed on May 9, the dispensers at the university’s main libraries have printed over 1,000 stories, according to Jill Shockley, Manager of Public Relations and Marketing for Penn State Libraries.
“My initial reaction was, wow,” said Shockley of so many stories being printed with many students home for the summer. “Ultimately we hope this sparks dialogue between reader and author.”
Penn State’s recent collaboration with the Short Edition will facilitate further conversation around creative writing pieces on a custom website.
“We see the partnership with Short Edition as the first step toward a growing number of thoughtful and creative exchanges, beginning with the installation of Short Edition dispensers around the University Park campus and the development of the online content management platform,” said Barbara I. Dewey, dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications, according to a press release.
Short Edition dispensers allow readers to request a one, three, or five-minute story, which is then printed on a paper as wide as a typical receipt.
Penn State students, faculty, staff or community members will soon be able to submit their own work for print.”
(Read the rest of this article here!)