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May 7, 2024

Books in Barbershops | 'It's not up to the school district alone'

Originally posted on ABC News 8

books in barbershops

National Reading Month just concluded, but My Brother’s Keeper of Tulsa has joined forces with Reading Partners Tulsa to start an initiative called Books in Barbershops.

My Brother’s Keeper has partnered up with Reading Partners Tulsa so that kids in Tulsa are reading proficiently at an early age.

As an African-American male in this country, Barber shops have always been a safe place for us.

A place that we can go and talk with our barbers and basically give them an update on life.

Good or bad and they would give us advice on certain topics.

While also getting a fresh haircut.

Today, Precision Pro Style Barbershop and McLain Barbershop in Tulsa are paying it forward by having books in their barbershops to help kids’ literacy.

One barber who has been cutting hair for over 30 years, says reading a book changed his life after he was incarcerated.

Now, he owns a barbershop.

“I was kind of lost out here. It was a guy that brought a book to me one time and he said man you should try to read this book. You should read this book. That book opened up a lot of doors for me to read further. Different books. Multiple books. On and on. Throughout my life and I started reading a lot more books after that for a long time. Even til this day.,” said Owner of Precision Pro Barbershop, Djuan Patrick.

Reading Partner Tulsa is providing barbershops with a bookshelf stocked with culturally relevant books to improve their literacy development.

“We have a lot of students in Tulsa who are not quite where we would love them to be before they reach 4th grade. Because when students know how to read really well before 4th grade, it sets them up for incredible success all the way through to college. And that’s what we want for every student in Tulsa,” said Reading Partners Tulsa Executive Director, Olivia Martin.

My Brother’s keeper also said that’s another reason why they wanted to step in and start this initiative together. Because it takes more than just reading at school to be successful.

It takes a community.

“What I really want our community to realize is that it is not up to the school district alone to support our students in improving their reading schools. Churches have a part to do, barbershops have a part to do, grandparents and parents, and me and mentors. We all have a part to play. And if we’re all doing our part, we’re supporting our young men for the rest of their lives,” said My Brother’s Keeper Director, Berthaddeus Bailey.

Both organizations are reaching out to students in a new way to help encourage them to become lifelong readers.

Barbershops interested in participating in the Books in Barbershops initiative can contact My Brother’s Keeper Tulsa at kendall@impacttulsa.com.

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