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franklin county times

Florence man releases book aimed at helping children learn to read

Florence resident Jerry Baggett still believes in his book, even 35 years after it was first published.
The former teacher is re-releasing his book “You Can Read Now” with several updates he’s added to the newest version.
“When I first wrote this book, there wasn’t anything out there that I was aware of that you could use to start a child out reading independently on the very first day,” Baggett said.
“The child will need some help with some of the words now and then, but it’s basically designed for the child to be able to do it without someone hovering over him.”
Baggett said the methods he uses in his book have received high praise from teachers and individual alike for helping children all the way up to adults be able to read.
“I had a kindergarten teacher tell me she had kids that would rather read than go outside to play after going through this book,” he said. “There were adult programs who found it helpful, too.”
Baggett taught special education and elementary classes and he said he used that experience along with his own personal experiences to formulate his methods for the book.
“My philosophy is to give a kid a method for finding the answer,” he said. “So many teachers just teach kids to memorize the information they’re supposed to learn, but that doesn’t really help them in the long run. It’s far better to learn the information than to memorize it for a while and then forget it. And this book gives children a way to really learn to read.”
Baggett said he wished something like this had been around when he was young.
“For children who struggle with reading, this book is perfect,” he said. “I know because when I first when to college, I misspelled the word ‘girl.’ I spelled it ‘grill.’ I was one of those kids. I was reading at a fifth-grade level when I first went to college. But this book proves there is hope and that it doesn’t always have to be that way. You just have to learn the right method.”
Baggett said his book went over well when he first published it in 1977.
Over the years he didn’t continue to push the book as much until he recently received some inspiration.
“Over 30 years later I got out these letters I received from people who had used my book and read how thankful they were for it,” he said. “I decided to get it back out and start pushing it again because people need this.”
Copies of “You Can Read Now” can be purchased for $15 each by contacting Baggett at 256-757-1823.