by wynne love | photos by Soul of Photography

As any parent knows, the ability to read is crucial to one’s success in school and in life. This is no more apparent than when a child is just starting out in school and – for kids who struggle – that’s when Maria Bagby likes to catch them.
“Language is thought and thought is expanded through reading,” observed Maria. “That’s why reading and writing are so important for every child and that’s why I go to work every day knowing that I’m changing people’s lives.”
With three Master’s degrees, a PhD, training as an educational therapist and over 25 years in the classroom as a teacher, reading specialist and administrator, Maria brings an amazing knowledge base to bear with her students. When she saw what a difference she could make one-on-one, she began the Therapeutic Literacy Center in Colorado. This past spring, she relocated to Solana Beach.
t.f.-7666Maria has made it her business to get to know the city, the schools and her fellow education professionals. “I recognize that schools just can’t do it all,” acknowledged Maria. “There’s no blame associated, it’s a matter of resources. That’s why I had to leave and find a way to sit with children one-on-one and give them the time and attention that they need.”
Now she and her colleague, Dana Reynolds, provide assistance to homeschooling families as well as children with dyslexia, ADHD and autism. “The mission of the Therapeutic Literacy Center is to provide short term intervention for struggling students by accelerating the time it takes for them to ‘catch up’ to their peers,” explained Maria. “I cater to the 20 to 25% of students who just can’t get their needs met in the system of school.” Most rewarding, she says, is “the impact we have on students’ lives in our ability to accelerate their learning so that our students catch up quickly and don’t need us after six to 12 weeks.”
Maria is also making time to get to know her neighborhood. “My favorite things to do are walk the beach in Del Mar, ride my bike up and down the coast and frequent the Solana Beach Coffee Company,” shared Maria. “I’m enjoying the warm weather and friendly people here in Southern California. I love it that everyone is outside walking, running, riding bikes, going to yoga and sitting in coffee shops!”

At A Glance

Name:  Maria Bagby
Community:  Solana Beach
Profession:  Reading Specialist, Educational Therapist
Hobbies:  Road cycling, watching the waves in the ocean