From barber chair to reading cubby

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Carron Carmichael holds the book while son Landen Parks, 5, reads in the chair of Kenya Hill at First Class Cosmetology School in Beloit. The reading, though enjoyable for Quinn, was a part of a joint effort between the school and Beloit Public Library. The school provided free haircuts to kids ages 5-18 and the library provided one book voucher for a book to check out.

BELOIT — First Class Cosmetology school is normally abuzz with clippers and curlers, but Wednesday it was filled with kids reading.

The school partnered with Beloit Public Library to offer free haircuts for kids ages 5-18.

“We thought it was a great idea to promote reading and everyone needs a haircut,” said Elizabeth Francik, marketing coordinator for the school. “It kind of gets their foot in the door at the library and here at the school.”

The organizations were inspired by Courtney Holmes, a Dubuque, Iowa barber, who gave free haircuts for kids reading in his chair last summer to encourage literacy. During the evening, Beloit Public Library provided kids with a voucher for one free book at the library.

Matthew Sachs, a 12-year-old avid reader, sat in Kelsey Amundson’s chair reading

"The Diary of a Whimpy Kid" for the fifth time.

Carron Carmichael brought her son Landen Parks, 5, to the event and took turns reading to him while he got his hair cut.

“It’s a distraction,” said Carmichael.

Landen isn't the biggest fan of haircuts, she said, but “he loves to read books.”

Landen’s stylist Kenya Hill said the event was a good opportunity for kids to read something that wasn’t school related.

Aunt LaShima Grosskopf brought six-year-old nephew Daniel Quinn, who sat quietly and read throughout his haircut.

“I brought him because he gets to read a book which is something that he loves and get a haircut, because it was time,” said Grosskopf.

The event had more than a dozen people participate within the first hour.

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