KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs declared anchors aweigh Tuesday on Read City USA 2022 campaign. This year’s theme is for the reading initiative by the county and Knox County Public Library is “Oceans of Possibility.”

“Shark Tank” star, business owner and owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban joined in on the announcement. In 2015, Cuban invested in the company Zoobean, the developer of the Beanstack Tracker App used to log the challenge’s reading hours. 

The goal for 2022 is to have Knox County children read for a million hours. Last year children from newborn to 17 read, or were read to, for 1.12 million hours.

Mayor Jacobs started Read City USA in 2019 to help increase literacy rates. Currently, only 40% of Knox County students are reading on grade level by the third grade – a milestone grade for several indicators including future graduation rates, incarceration projections, and earning capacity. Read City USA launched its first challenge of 250,000 hours.

Since 2019, Read City USA has seen steady growth with groups and individuals logging a combined 2,090,580 hours by 23,682 participants.

“I’m excited to see the participation in this reading challenge,” Jacobs said. “It shows that our community cares about supporting our schools and making reading a priority.”

Individuals, groups and businesses are encouraged to take the challenge. More information is available at www.knoxlib.org/readcity