Egleston Square Main Streets will be keeping shears and minds sharp with the second “Books in the Barbershop Summer Reading Initiative,” which encourages daily reading by giving free books to elementary aged students who get their hair styled or cut in any participating barber shop, according to the press release.
The program, launched by Egleston Square Main Street and community supporters, runs from July 8 through the first day of school in September.
“Summer is certainly a time for kids to relax, but it’s essential that we keep reading alive as part of our family’s daily routine,” said Luis E. Cotto, executive director of Egleston Square Main Street, according to the press release. “We all take time out of our day to eat, exercise, sleep, and text our friends. Reading should be right up there – it’s about keeping our minds healthy and engaged.”
Regular reading is known to be beneficial for preventing summer learning loss, inspiring curiosity, enhancing comprehension and vocabulary, and helping to establish a foundation for young people to become lifelong readers and learners.
“Last summer was a very successful pilot season,” said Elvins Artiles, owner of The Throne Barbershop, according to the press release. “The Books in the Barbershop initiative puts brand new books in the hands of children whose families might not earn enough to spend on books. Seeing the look on a child’s face when they’re selecting a book really adds to the benefits of our job here in the neighborhood barbershops.”
Egleston Square Main Street purchases the books for the programs at a discount from publishers. The books that are given out are chosen with the help of local Boston Public Library branch librarians, and usually feature a child of color or are written and illustrated by writers and illustrators of color. Some books are also written in Spanish.
During last year’s summer reading initiative, over 300 books were distributed. This summer, Egleston Square Main Street hopes to distribute over 500 books.
Participating businesses are Lawson Barbershop at 1979 Columbus Ave., The Throne Barbershop at 3099 Washington St., Micky’s Barbershop at 3120 Washington St., Latino Beauty Salon at 3125 Washington St., Alberto’s Barbershop at 3137 Washington St., Anique Nicole Hair Studio at 3156 Washington St., and Flaco’s Barbershop at 3167 Washington St.
To learn more, go to eglestonsquare.org or call Luis E. Cotto at 203-215-9614.