Keith P. Jason/Ryan Griffin

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The barbershop knocks off $2 for a haircut if children read aloud

The barber has been offering the discount for more than a year

CNN —  

A barbershop in Michigan is offering its younger clients a discount for a haircut – as long as they read out loud.

From $10 a haircut, kids can get back two bucks if they read to their barbers.

But, wait! There’s more. Kids also get quizzed on what they read.

“It’s not just about reading, but also about comprehension,” said Ryan Griffin, the barber who created the program at The Fuller Cut barbershop in Ypsilanti.

Griffin, 44, said he was instantly inspired to offer this deal to his younger clients while reading an article about another barbershop incorporating the same concept.

Ryan Griffin and 9-year-old client DJ Watkins
Courtesy Alex Fuller
Ryan Griffin and 9-year-old client DJ Watkins

“It hit me like a book! I was like, that is so responsible to have these kids not waste their time just either sitting there doing nothing, or playing a video game. They can read,” Griffin told CNN.

Almost all of Griffin’s clientele is African-American. He says he really wanted to offer his younger visitors books with a strong, positive message.

The barbershop's library
Courtesy Ryan Griffin
The barbershop's library

Books like “Chocolate Me,” “Big Hair Don’t Care” and “I am Mixed” are among the hundreds of titles in the shop’s library, Griffin said.

Some kids opt out of reading because they most likely feel intimidated to read out loud. However, it doesn’t stop Griffin from encouraging them to read.

Griffin said he will correct them along the way with any words the kids don’t know how to say. And he has seen lots of improvement from his readers.

“You may have a kid that never wanted to read, and now all of a sudden the kid will come in and read,” he said. “You may have a kid that’s reading really soft because he doesn’t want somebody to hear him mess up, but then after a couple of times this kid is (reading) out loud now.”

A young client reads aloud
Courtesy Ryan Griffin
A young client reads aloud

It’s been a little over a year since Griffin got this program going.

The kids and parents both enjoy it, he says – especially being able to get a $2 discount. Because why not?

But to Griffin it’s a simple thing. It’s about giving back to the community and paying it forward through education.

“I truly believe it’s an absolute simplistic thing. It didn’t cost me one red cent to get this program started, and I say it because all it took was somebody else to inspire me and the barbers here,” Griffin said.

“It’s taught me that it doesn’t matter how big you think your contribution is, because even though you may think it is small it might mean the world to somebody else. If I could say anything, it’ll be just do something. Because you never know the magnitude what it means to somebody else.”