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Storytime in the CSRA: Mr. Erik Reads provides love of reading to community

Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 6:30 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - When Erik Hardison started reading books online every day last August, he was just hoping to keep his habit going until Christmas. This past Sunday, he just completed a full year of daily reading, and he says he has no plans to stop now.

Hardison saw an article about a principal in Beaumont, Texas, who read books to her students online every Tuesday night, and he wanted to do the same thing, but daily.

Hardison and his wife, a teacher in Columbia County, have four young children. So, it’s needless to say, books are a staple at the house. They had about 250 books to get them started.

“As I got deeper into this, I realized I don’t have nearly enough,” Hardison said. “I probably grossly underestimated the amount of time and the amount of books that you actually have to have.”

He's gotten more through the local libraries and families who have donated old books, and the nightly reads have become a family affair.

“My son, anytime he gets a chance, he will join me. And he likes to remind everyone that it’s Mr. Erik and Mr. Barrett who are reading,” Hardison said.

“My daughter has guest read for me, as well. She loves reading from an early age,” he continued.

Hardison says while students are learning from home, he hopes to get them excited about reading and learning as the school year approaches.

“Our kids can start to see how exciting it can be to use their imagination, to visualize things that are happening, to use their inferences to guess what might happen,” Hardison said. “And really just being able to sit and take in a story so they can turn that into sitting and taking in more lessons at school.”

Hardison says to his fellow readers, stay tuned because there may be some special guest readers in the future.

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