KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs is hoping to get children reading with the “Read Around the World” challenge.

Jacobs started the initiative Monday, Jan. 13, with the goal to read 500,000 hours this year, or the equivalent of the time it would take to travel around the world 20 times in 2020.

Children can use an app to track their reading progress.

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“This program is aimed for everybody of course,” Jacobs said. “Ultimately the objective is to help encourage early childhood literacy especially at the third grade level; the pre-third grade level actually.”

According to the “Read Around the World” ReadCity USA website, only 40% of Knox County students are reading on grade level by the third grade.

The program is a collaborative effort between Knox County government, Knox County Public Library, Knox County Schools and The Great Schools Partnership.