Charleston Day School
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Community Service

3rd Grade Read-a-Thon

November 2

The Charleston Day School 3rd grade class completed their week-long Read-a-Thon with a reading field trip in Washington Square Park. The Read-a-Thon raises money each year for local organizations. The students read 5,089 minutes and received a total of $9353.02 in pledges during the 5-day reading challenge. Charleston Day School 3rd grade students finish Read-a-Thon by reading in the parkThe group works together to choose eight local organizations to receive proceeds from this exciting community service project. Over the fourteen years, the school’s 3rd grade has donated more than $90,000 to local charitable groups.

3rd Grade Read-a-Thon History

Emily Shortridge, one member of the 3rd grade teacher team, started the project fourteen years ago as a way to support the Sea Turtle Hospital at the South Carolina Aquarium. As interest in the project grew, so did the list of charitable organizations around Charleston. “Our first donation was to the Sea Turtle Hospital in 2009 for $100. We organized a bake sale that first year.  After learning that a bake sale is not environmentally friendly, we decided to try a Read-A-Thon to help promote reading and at the same time raise money for the Sea Turtle Hospital.Charleston Day School 3rd grade students working on their Read-a-Thon minutes When we realized the reading raised quite a bit of money, we decided to work with the students to brainstorm additional charitable donation recipients. Now, the proceeds benefit even more non-profit groups in the area. The best part of this project, besides falling in love with reading, is the students have an opportunity to learn about ways to help our community and build empathy at the same time.”

Read-a-Thon Community Impact

Charleston Day School students finish 3rd grade Read-a-Thon by reading in the parkFor the remainder of the school year, the class will take regular field trips or welcome visitors to the classroom to donate Read-a-Thon contributions in person. A key piece to the project is to meet with organizations receiving funds. During the visits, students learn more about how the fundraiser has a direct impact on local groups. 

Motivating Readers

Carrie Davis, 3rd grade teacher, sees how the project motivates readers and makes a difference in the students’ awareness of needs in our community. “This project is special because not only does it foster a love for reading, but it also helps students look beyond our gates. Students are introduced to new opportunities and learn how their actions can directly impact others.” Charleston Day School focuses on building a caring community within its classrooms. As Mrs. Davis noted, “We want our students to recognize they are part of an even bigger community. We need to look for ways to serve others.”

Charleston Day School students finish 3rd grade Read-a-Thon by reading in the park

Last year’s Read-a-Thon donation recipients included the SC Sea Turtle Hospital, Shawn Jenkins MUSC Children’s Hospital, The Green Heart Project, Charleston Animal Society, Camp Happy Days, The Ronald McDonald House, Charleston Water Keepers, and Veterans on Deck. Read about past Read-a-Thons here and here.

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