Waiting somewhere with your kids? Read a book with them.
That's the message business officials and reading advocates said they hope to instill in Tri-City residents waiting in line or in a lobby with their young children.
The Columbia Center Rotary Club provided more than $12,000 to the Children's Reading Foundation of the Mid-Columbia to buy 250 baskets filled with 15 to 20 children's books each.
Fifty of the baskets will be at the club's luncheon today and handed out to business owners.
Brian Ace, the foundation's executive director, said it is important young children be read to or read themselves 20 minutes a day, something many parents say they don't have time for.
"The goal is to eliminate one of the most common excuses," he said.
Ace said putting books out in the community in places where people typically wait, such as at a Laundromat, mechanic or the drivers' license office, could go far in getting children into reading.
Baskets contain books ranging from board books for the youngest children to books for beginning readers.
Contents will vary between locations, such as some baskets having more Spanish-language books in parts of the Tri-Cities with a predominantly Latino population.
Included with the baskets will be brochures pointing out the benefits of reading with your children, such as building relationships, developing curiosity and strengthening language skills.
Holly Wilson, 2011-12 president of the Columbia Center Rotary, said the club became interested in the project because of what it could do for youth and education.
"The choice to fund was an easy one," she said.
Money for the project came from the club's share of money from the 2011 Duck Race, an annual event organized by the Rotary clubs of the Tri-Cities.