The Annual Summer Reading Program Begins This Week. - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

The Annual Summer Reading Program Begins This Week.

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KENNEWICK, Wash. - It's the largest reading program in the region and thousands of kids sign up for it.  It's the annual Summer Reading Program going on at any Mid-Columbia Library.

Kids who sign up are required to read for 15 hours or a total of three hundred pages during the summer.

Last year over 9,000 children joined in.   Librarians say it could be the most important thing teens and kids can do to be ready for school next year.

"Their teachers love it because they come back to school ready to read and reading helps with all their school stuff: math, social science, history, everything," said Elizabeth Gray, Youth Service Outreach Manager for the Mid-Columbia Library System.

Kids involved in the program can use their reading logs as a free bus pass with Ben Franklin Transit.  They also get free tickets to the Benton Franklin Fair and a free book.

It doesn't cost anything to join, and a library card isn't needed.  Participating kids can enter to win a bran new bicycle and other prizes.