Promoting literacy: Florida barbershop hands out books to young customers
If you go to Royal Touch Barbershop in Riviera Beach, Florida, you’ll get more than a haircut if you’re a young boy.
Reggie Ross who owns the shop has boys and men reading books on various subjects such as culture, history, achieving success and college matriculation. Why? Because he wants to promote literacy among black boys and men.
Twice a month at the two-year-old Riviera Beach barbershop, while little boys wait to get their hair cut, the barbers and volunteers help them select books which they discuss and then read.
Ross, 35, said the idea is to dispel what he calls the myth that black men don’t care and that black males don’t read. “My parents always encouraged reading in my family, so when I opened the barbershop I brought books from home,” Ross said.
The program has since expanded and so has the number books he has in his library. The collection has grown to 70.
“I’m very selective about the books here,” Ross said, showing off a book by retired Gen. Colin Powell. “We emphasize culture and broadening their horizons – books that are going to help them to get ahead in life.”
The program also includes vocabulary building. “If they want to play a movie or listen to music while here, they have to give me their vocabulary word and the definition first,” Ross told the Times.
Ross’ collection has books ranging from those that cater to the very young to mature, as long as they read.
Sound off below!