Improve Norwich Now Encourages Reading During Haircuts

By: Zachary Meseck

Improve Norwich Now encourages reading during haircuts (Zachary Meseck photo)

NORWICH – Improve Norwich Now (I.N.N.) is partnering with local salons and barber shops to encourage reading in their community, allowing kids to win prizes such as jump ropes, bubbles, and candy if they read a book while getting their hair cut.

According to Improve Norwich Now Co-Founder Jen Westervelt, the idea stemmed from a barber shop in Pennsylvania that rewarded children for reading during the haircut by earning money.

"In our model, children will read from a book to their hairdresser, and when the haircut is complete, they can select a prize," said Westervelt. "As a former English teacher, now pastor, and mom of two young boys, I personally know the ways reading can open doors for people: especially when they develop an ability and desire to read in their young years."

"From reading to learn, to reading for pleasure, to reading in order to complete job applications and business or personal paperwork, reading is an essential life skill."

She said since I.N.N. is focused on removing barriers and providing supports, promoting literacy aligns perfectly with their efforts to improve Norwich now.

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