With sponsors donating based on the amount of time they read, Charleston Day School third-graders racked up 5,000 minutes in a single week to support local charities, including the campaign for the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital.

Some of them had been to the hospital as patients. Others visited sick or injured siblings there. And with those experiences in mind, they jumped into the school’s annual third-grade readathon.

Molly Mettler, 8, read 647 minutes that week. “On the way to sports, I would read,” she said. “And I would stay up a little later – but maybe my parents didn’t know that.”

Banks Cummings, also 8, enjoyed earning money while reading series, including Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Captain Underpants and Lunch Lady comic books.  “I wanted to do this, because some children are really sick,” he said. “And I want to help the children.”

At the end of the readathon, the class donated $840 to the campaign for MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital, specifically the pediatric oncology unit. The students made another gift to the South Carolina Aquarium’s sea turtle hospital.

Their teachers, Emily Shortridge and Kerry Murphy, say the readathon began eight years ago and motivates a new class of students every fall. “It really jumpstarts their love for reading,” Shortridge said. 

Children’s Hospital Development Director Barbara Rivers joined the class for a check presentation in the school garden and explained that donations not only help to build the hospital but to purchase toys and games for children who need care.

“There’s nothing more precious to us at MUSC,” she said, “than children helping children.”