ST. PETERSBURG -- Cliff Floyd may have 14 years of Major League experience and a World Series ring, but the 35-year-old father of two still has trouble getting his kids to listen.

When someone other than their dear ol' dad says something, 4-year-old Bria Shea and 2-year-old Tobias Floyd are usually all ears.

That's why Floyd's visit to the John F. Germany Public Library in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday morning was so important.

A group of about 70 youngsters listened as the Rays designated hitter read the book "Take Me Out to The Ball Game", and remained attentive -- as someone other than their parents -- explained the importance of literacy.

"These kids need to learn how to read and [know] how important reading is in our society," Floyd said. "Any way we can help as athletes goes a long way."

The event was part of the "Reading with the Rays" program, with pitcher Trever Miller reading at the inaugural event on July 2.

The idea behind the program is to encourage children to "round the bases" with books. Three hours of summer reading put participants on first base, and they progress from there. Once they make it to home plate, they are enrolled in a chance to win tickets to a Rays game.

Following the hour-long session, Floyd didn't hesitate to stay to sign autographs and spend some time with those in attendance.

"As far as time out of your day, any time you can talk to kids it's time worth giving," Floyd said. "Especially when you can talk to them and show them you know something besides baseball."