FRPN Grantee Report: Examining the Real Dads Read Program: Barbers’ and Fathers’ Reflections and Experiences

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Bingham, G.
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The Real Dads Read program places little libraries in barbershops to encourage fathers to read to their children while they wait for a haircut. Fathers are able to share books in the barbershop and also take the books, which are intentionally chosen to be culturally relevant for African American families, home for free. Georgia State University received funding from the FRPN to examine barbers’ implementation of Real Dads Read in 21 barbershops located in Atlanta, Georgia. Findings from qualitative interviews demonstrate that barbers had varying degrees of knowledge about and buy-in to the program. Barbers who saw themselves as “readers” discussed the importance of the program in supporting children’s learning, articulated specific strategies that they used to encourage fathers to share books with their children while at the barbershops, and endorsed the need for taking books home to bolster children’s home libraries. These barbers were also much more likely to speak of themselves as a personal and professional resource for families and to articulate the importance of the barbershop as a gathering place for African American men. Some of the barbers saw the book distribution program as external to the nature of the barbershop as a place of business.  Study findings have implications for using barbershops as literacy-focused resources for families.

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