Many excellent classroom teachers have been singled out for special recognition by the National Teachers Hall of Fame (NTHF). One of these is Connie Bagley, an elementary school reading specialist from San Marcos, Texas.
Connie earned her Bachelor’s degree in Education from Southwest Texas State University in 1972, and also completed some post-graduate work there. She was also a graduate of Southern Methodist University’s Dyslexia Program in 2000.
Since 1993, Connie has worked as a K-5 Dyslexia Reading Specialist at Crockett Elementary in San Marcos, Texas. San Marcos is a suburb of Austin, the state’s capital city.
Connie’s career as an educator has spanned a total of 39 years. “What I do matters. What all educators do matters,” Connie once declared. “It is my job to instill pride and confidence along with the knowledge necessary to be a productive, well-rounded citizen.”
For her dedication to the teaching profession, Connie has earned many accolades. In 2017, she garnered a Winslow Coyne Reitnouer Excellence in Teaching Award. The prestigious award, given to only two educators each year throughout the country, recognizes exemplary leadership and innovative efforts in classroom instruction for students who struggle to read because of learning differences and visual disabilities. The same year, Connie was named a runner-up in the Penguin Random House Teacher Awards for Literacy. In 2013, she was named a Texas Teacher of the Year finalist by the Texas Association of School Administrators.
And in 2018, she was inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame. The NTHF is located in Emporia, Kansas. This nonprofit organization recognizes and honors exceptional teachers, encourages excellence in teaching, and preserves the rich heritage of the teaching profession in the United States.
The Bagley Method is especially meaningful for post-COVID teaching because from her we learn strategies that impact distance learning: small-group instruction, multi-modal instruction, differentiation, enhanced communication, and pivoting. But in order to grasp the significance of the Bagley Method for America’s teachers, we must alter our approach. Rather than outline general strategies employed by a Great Teacher, we will dissect a single Bagley lesson in its entirety, beginning with materials setup, goals, formative assessments, flowing through procedures until we reach a summative assessment.
“I have known Connie Bagley for decades, first as a mother of one of my preschoolers, then as a friend, and finally as a professional colleague. In each of these realms, Connie has been exemplary. It was such a joy to watch her as a guest lecturer in a language class I taught at Texas State University. I saw her at her best, speaking with passion and knowledge about her work with dyslexic children. It was clear to both my students and I that Connie had found that area of the teaching profession for which she was intended…and to which she gave her best. It is always my hope that future educators find and pursue the area of teaching that speaks to their hearts. Connie certainly did, and we have much for which to be grateful. I hope the readers of this text tap into her enthusiasm, commitment, and dedication. It’s inspiring!”
Dr. Dianne Rush Pape
Retired Early Childhood Senior Lecturer
Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas
“If you have put kids through school, you know the teachers that stand out. The ones who make your child's year because they put an arm around them, the ones that communicate with you, the ones who tell stories, and the ones that would engage through discovery and creativity no matter the content. This is Connie Bagley. Mrs. Bagley stands out.
I got to meet, know, trust, and stand in awe of Connie over the years through a shared relationship with Learning Ally. Connie was using the Learning Ally Audiobook Solution for her struggling readers, and she came on my radar through our national reading competition called "The Great Reading Games." I got to see firsthand what sitting at Connie's feet was like to learn as a struggling reader. Every child mattered, every child knew they were unique, and every child learned. I remember Connie telling me about the conversations she would have with her elementary students about visioning their future in college or trade school. The kids she worked with couldn't read at grade-level, but she set a vision for their future so they could believe in what was next, even if the work of the day seemed to be too much. Connie transformed students through her teaching. She made students readers. She made them believers.
In 2017, Connie was one of the first educators in the country to receive the prestigious Winslow Coyne Reitnouer Excellence in Education Award from Learning Ally. Through her nomination, I read letter after letter from previous students that wrote about their journey of being a student of Mrs. Bagley's or their child's journey. Each one showed Connie's dedication to being a learner to help others, it showed how she inspired colleagues in their teaching practices, and it showed how she allowed students to stand on her shoulders to achieve success.
There is no way to measure the impact of Connie over the years. The one thing that I know to be true is that every child needs a Connie Bagley in their life.”
Terrie Noland, CALP
Doctoral Candidate, Ph.D. in Literacy
Vice-President, Educator Initiatives – Learning Ally
Teacher of the Year?; Changing the Rulebook; Dyslexia-More Common than You Think; The Bagley Method: Origins of the Bagley Method; Bagley Strategy #1: Adapt the Method to Fit Your Situation; Bagley Strategy #2: Engage Students Immediately Through Oral Language; Bagley Strategy #3: Use a “Why Statement” to Engage Students; Bagley Strategy #4: Use Multi-sensory Drills; Bagley Strategy #5: Know your Students’ Capabilities; Bagley Strategy #6: Build Students Up; Bonus Profile: The “Fonz”; Bagley Strategy #7: Learn to Pivot; Bagley Strategy #8: Close the Lesson with a Mastery Learning Model; Bonus Profile 2: William’s Story; Summary; Afterward; Reflection
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