Alvin Irby’s TED Talk "How to inspire every child to be a lifelonger reader" has been viewed over 1 million times.
He’s a published author and founder of Barbershop Books, a literacy program creating child-friendly reading spaces in barbershops while also providing early literacy training to barbers.
His work connecting reading to male-centered spaces and involving men in boys’ early reading experiences earned him the National Book Foundation’s 2017 Innovations in Reading Prize.
And on March 1, Irby will be kicking off Norfolk Collegiate’s second annual LEAP Term as keynote speaker to upper school students. Following his work with our students, he will present “An evening with Alvin Irby” at 6 p.m. where he will have parents laughing and engaging with their children in new, inspiring ways.
Irby is a former Kindergarten teacher turned award-winning social entrepreneur, comedian and author, and we’re fortunate to have him working with our upper school students as part of our LEAP Term program this year. Irby will focus on harnessing your child’s passion to make an impact in their community.
“When the student feedback on last year's LEAP Term showed that they were interested in hearing from an entrepreneur as this year's keynote speaker, I knew I wanted to reach out to Alvin Irby,” said Ashley King, director of experiential education and community engagement and coordinator for technology integration. “I had read about Barbershop Books a few years ago and had listened to his TED Talk: his career path and the story behind the creation of Barbershop Books are really interesting and inspiring... Our students will not only learn a lot about entrepreneurship but also how entrepreneurship can be used to contribute to the world around them in meaningful ways. He's also pretty funny, so I know it'll be a great event!”
Irby’s work also includes nationally recognized cultural competency workshops for educational organizations to help facilitate relevant and engaging learning experiences for all students. In addition, his diversity and inclusion trainings help “educators better understand and address the systemic and personal challenges that inhibit children’s intrinsic motivation to read and learn,” according to his website.
He has been seen on television comedy programs and his debut children’s book, “Gross Greg,” captures the hilariously gross behavior of kids everywhere.
Irby holds a Masters of Science in childhood education from Bank Street Graduate School of Education, a Masters of Public Administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, and a Bachelors of Arts in sociology from Grinnell College.