GASTONIA, N.C. -- Blame it on the digital age, or the inability to get to a library. There are lots of reasons why young kids these days aren’t reading.

  • Kids are picking up books in barbershops and salons
  • Several businesses in Gastonia are on board with the program
  • The organizer plans to expand the program to waiting rooms and laundromats

Dallas Library branch manager Chrissie McGovern explains it’s causing an issue in Gaston County.

“The state passed a law that if children don’t pass reading tests in grades one to three, they have to go to summer reading camp,” she said.

In brainstorming ideas with the Early Literacy Collaborative, McGovern thought of putting books in barbershops and salons.

“Places where kids have a wait time. Like when they’re getting their hair cut,” McGovern added.

Since August, she’s been able to get seven Gastonia businesses on board. New Reflections owners Tasha and Carlos Leslie signed up immediately.

“They interact and have a conversation with me and my husband and explain to us what we’re reading,” said Tasha Leslie. “They’re learning reading skills, but also how to communicate.”

Nala Sherrill, a middle school principal, is encouraged by program. She feels literacy is the foundation for a student’s entire education.

“The more time they spend reading, more fluent they will become and the more they’ll be able to build their skills for comprehension,” said Sherrill.

McGovern is looking to add books at more barbershops, plus waiting rooms and laundromats over the next year.

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