Local School Bus Driver Sparks New Reading Program Throughout Mid-Columbia

<p>Carlyn Kraft</p>

Carlyn Kraft

For the last several years, Carlyn Kraft, a school bud driver for the Pasco School District, has been reading to the students who ride on her bus.

Once the Children's Reading Foundation of the Mid-Columbia found out about it, Kraft was awarded the 2014 Literacy Champion Award.

Now, the foundation will launch a new program called Books on the Bus this fall across the Mid-Columbia in Kraft's honor.

"I was driving and I heard the kids talking behind me about various subjects and I thought, 'I have a book about that,'" said Kraft.

That was six years ago and from that day forward, Kraft started bringing bags filled with books for the kids.

"The kids on the bus love the books, they go crazy over them," said Kraft.

Kraft purchased hundreds of books over the years with her own money.

The Reading Foundation has jumped in to provide her with books.

"Maybe we can foster reading on buses as well and encourage kids that they can read anywhere they are, they don't have to wait until they're in the library or a classroom," said Amy Ward, Executive Director for the Children's Reading Foundation of the Mid-Columbia.

Now that most kids will have the opporunity to get lost in their favorite books, they're excited.

"Anytime I'm on the bus I could just go to the back of the bus and get some more books," said Anita Mendoza, a second grader at Virgie Robinson Elementary School.

Kraft said she's overwhelmed with how far everything has come and she's just happy to get more books into more hands.

"It's just part of who I am, I love to read and if kids love to read, it's great," said Kraft. "It takes them places they'd never think of going."