Mark Cuban helps kick off Read City USA 2022

Mary Pom ClaiborneOur Town Youth

They say reading takes you places. On Tuesday, we took that adage seriously. Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs and the Knox County Public Library launched the new Read City 2022 challenge at Emerald Youth Foundation’s Haslam Sansom Ministry Complex on Texas Ave.

About 400 kids and community leaders set sail on the first of three nautical challenges this year. Jacobs kicked off the challenge by reading the “There Was an Old Sailor” by Clair Saxby and Cassandra Allen. The Friends of the Library gave every child in attendance a book of their own to help get them started.

The goal? We’re going to read one million hours, 20 minutes at a time. This year, our goal is broken into three challenges. Starting today, kids and families are invited to join the “Anchors Aweigh” challenge by reading and logging 45 hours by April 30 to earn prizes. We had a special guest deliver a special message. Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban sent a video message to help us set sail:

Many individual readers and community groups are joining us in a quest to become the best-read community in America. It’s more than a feel-good slogan. Currently, only 40% of Knox County students are reading on grade level at the end of third grade. Our community can help by encouraging children and families to make reading a top priority.

Find more information on how to join the Read City “Oceans of Possibilities” Challenge here.

Mary Pom Claiborne is assistant director for marketing, communications and development for Knox County Public Library. She writes a Wednesday feature for

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