Who likes to read in a pineapple under the sea?

The Kaiser Family Foundation tells us that American children and youths spend almost four hours a day watching TV and fewer than 30 minutes a day reading.

Of course we love reading and readers, so we're a little distressed by this trend.

We are happy, though, to have cartoon characters SpongeBob Squarepants and Patrick Starfish (or at least their vocal cords) vocalizing on the virtues of reading to some of our local youngsters.

Tom Kenny and Bill Fagerbakke (SpongeBob and Patrick, respectively) were in town this week to read to kids at Tapteal Elementary and Christ the King. That's a huge treat!

And when the celebrities tell the kids how vital reading is, well, that's better than whole plate of Crabby Patties.

Congratulations are in order to Gary Moskovitz and the parent organizations that ponied up the money to make it possible.

Mom and Dad can read to you and even teach you to read. Those are both great ideas, and we hope they are happening in homes across the Mid-Columbia.

Teachers can require book reports and reading homework. We know that's happening.

But we're pleased as plankton that SpongeBob and Patrick are telling kids that reading is what sparked their imaginations. How else is someone going to come up with all those goofy voices?

Thanks, guys, for bringing Bikini Bottom to the Tri-Cities.