Reading plus haircuts gets kids ready to go back to school

Children read books while they have their hair cut during Read to Cut Aug. 28, 2017, at Kings Barber Shop in Appleton. (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

APPLETON (WLUK) -- An event in The Fox Valley on Monday had barbers giving children free haircuts in exchange for a little reading.

Dozens of school children packed Kings Barbershop in Appleton this morning waiting for their turn in the second year of a program called "Read to Cut."

Kings Barbershop in Appleton is normally closed Mondays, but on this morning, it was sitting-room-only.

"We're doing a Read to Cut," said barber Daniel Gilbert. "We're just doing something to give back to the community. To just promote literacy for the kids. Nowadays, kids, they're so wrapped up in technology, they don't read anymore."

Thirteen-year-old Chris Lamb says the idea is simple.

"You have to come here, and you grab a book," he said. "There's a shelf where you can choose a book. You get to wait in line, then you come up to the barber, and you get your haircut.

The children read a short book while the barbers listen and cut. Lamb's choice was a story about boxing legend Joe Louis.

"More knockouts followed. Each new city, another fallen man. His legend quickly spread across the country. People scrambled for a glimpse of Joe," Lamb read.

"We try to do it around back to school time, just to get the kids ready, to get them amped for school," Gilbert said.

And the children were sent back to class ready to learn. Bags of school supplies were handed out, and backpacks were raffled off as well.

"We had a lot of donations. A lot of friends and families that I know and people who know Kings Barbershop donated. They donated the backpacks to us, and then each one of the barbers here, we all put our money together, and we made this happen," Gilbert said.

"And with his new haircut and reading session complete, Chris Lamb says he's ready for eighth grade."

"It's pretty important, because if you don't read in the summer a lot, then you forget a lot about it during the next year of school," Lamb said.

In addition to the haircuts, lunch was served. The menu featured hamburgers and hot dogs, and for dessert, cupcakes and cookies were also available.

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