Covington barbershop encouraging kids to read with new books, prizes – Spectrum News 1

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COVINGTON, Ky. — With everything kids today have at their disposal competing for their attention, getting them to sit down and read a book can be a challenge, as many parents know. 
That’s a challenge a barbershop in Northern Kentucky is taking head on.
There’s a lot of buzz at the Hair on the Floor Barbershop in Covington. There always is, of course, with the constant sound of clippers, but especially now, as the barbers and operation manager Jenetta Thomas have generated a lot of excitement among kids and their parents.
“There’s kids always around. Definitely a place where people can come to. So I thought it would be kind of a neat place to have the books involved. I know it’s not typical when you come into a barbershop,” Thomas said.
Thomas and her brother Reggie England, who cuts hair and owns the place, partnered with Read Ready Covington, the city’s early literacy initiative, to bring a book shelf and all the new and gently used books in it to the barbershop. The family friendly business is also giving kids incentive to read them with monthly drawings for a prize basket. It’s called “Read With My Barber.”
“Kids come in. They can read a book. If they read a book while they’re here, either while waiting, or if they’re in the chair, then they can get a raffle ticket. And with the ticket we have a prize box,” Thomas said. “They’ll go through the books. Upon suggestion of the barbers, they’ll tell them, ‘you got to read a book.’ Because the first thing they’ll see is the prize basket. Definitely, they want that. So, it’s encouraging that the kids are picking up on it.”
Thomas connected with Mary Kay Connolly of Read Ready Covington to bring the idea to life. She wanted to make sure there was a diverse variety of things for kids to read about. Sports, places around the world, and technology are some of the subjects.
Kids can even take the books home with them.
For parents getting their haircut, it’s been a relief knowing their kids are occupied and expanding their minds.
Thomas has seen it up close.
“My little one, actually, she’s gone through the books several times, and she always wants to take one with her, but it wasn’t always that she was interested in books, and so now just helping that she finally is, it’s a good thing to support,” she said.
The barbershop is also fundraising for a back to school flag football game after taking two years off due to the pandemic.