Knight Education - Starting Over Starting Right
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Personal Commitment

At age two, Joan Knight’s older daughter was running up and down brownstone steps and climbing intrepidly and sure-footedly to the top of tall furniture.  Much later, she was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  When her younger daughter started 1st grade, Joan returned to teaching. Unlike her previous work with elementary school children, she began teaching disadvantaged adults in a New York City Department of Education program for Adult Basic Education/High School Equivalency/English as a Second Language.  Knight taught the ABE component where the reading levels of her adult students ranged from 1.0 to 8.0. Her adults were street-wise and uninhibited. When a technique worked, they were quick to let her know and equally quick when it did not work. The feedback from her students led her to what she would later learn was a multisensory approach developed by Samuel T. Orton and Anna Gillingham (O-G).

During this period, her younger daughter exited each grade as a poor reader. The school assured her every year that the child was bright, well mannered and well behaved and that if not "pushed" by her mother she would learn to read in her own time. In October of the 4th grade, Knight was called to school to be informed that her daughter was two years behind, reading on a second grade level and would be left back at the end of the year if she did not improve. Knight worked every day with her daughter, using the O-G techniques she had read about and was mastering with her adults. At the end of the year, her daughter had improved one grade level raising her reading level to 3rd grade and was promoted to the 5th grade. At the end of the fifth grade with continued daily work, the child's score soared to a 7th grade level. During the years that followed work continued in writing, vocabulary enrichment and grammar. Her older daughter began to need help to overcome inattention in 5th grade. Both daughters graduated high school and college. Her dyslexic daughter is now a teacher of reading.

Commitment to Learning

Knight enrolled in graduate school and sent her Master’s thesis, “The Frequency of Dyslexic Symptoms Among Adult Basic Education Students” to the New York Branch of the International Dyslexia Association. She became a member and volunteered for nine years to conduct seminars for adults seeking to understand dyslexia – its symptoms and solutions. She was later invited to join the Board of Directors and was subsequently elected President of the Branch. Prior to that she was President of the Manhattan College branch of the International Reading Association.

Knight holds an M.A. degree in Reading and Learning Disabilities, and an M.S. in Administration and Supervision. Her teaching licensure includes Teacher of Reading, Basic Literacy to Adults, and Special Education. Her supervisory licensure includes Education Administrator of Staff Development & Training, and Pupil Personnel Support Services. She is now Director Knight Education, Inc., an education consultancy.

Commitment to Training

Ms. Knight has long been involved in the diagnosis and instruction of children and adults with reading and learning difficulties. During her 16 years at the Department of Education, she trained hundreds of teachers throughout the city and state. When Queens College of the City University of New York established a new graduate program in Applied Linguistics, Knight was invited to be one of the founding faculty members and teach her yearlong reading course to the graduate students. She resigned from the Department of Education in 1986 to pursue teacher training outside the DOE. She has taught psychotherapists at the Post Graduate Center for Mental Health; teachers, psychologists, social workers, education evaluators, and parents of New York public school children; teachers at the Police Athletic League and the City Volunteer Corps; and teacher trainers of the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT).

Knight has designed and supervised Starting Over programs for adults in the Teamsters’ Union, the Municipal Workers’ Union (DC 37), and in a special eight-year project funded by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (NYS OASAS) for recovering clients in residential therapeutic communities.

Her teaching techniques were laid down in the textbook Starting Over, published by Educators Publishing Service. Teachers use the textbook in special education, regular education, and resource rooms, and in programs for adults in substance abuse rehabilitation, unions, and in private one-to-one work.

Her published works include the textbook, Starting Over, a combined teacher’s manual and student workbook, and various articles: The Link Between Learning Disability and Instruction; Assessing Learners’ Phonological Awareness, Spelling, and Decoding Skills; A for Adults with Dyslexia; and Guest Editor for the newsletter Perspectives.

Starting Over was featured on the WNBC television news show, “Live at 5” and the WABC TV special, “The Need to Read.”

Commitment to the Community
  For over ten years, Starting Over had run low-cost classes for parents and their children where they learned together. Having gone through the emotional experience of teaching her own children, she is well aware of the hazards and benefits of being your child’s tutor and believes that if well trained and educated, there is no more economical or caring resource than the parent. Having worked in adult education for so many years, she is also aware that many adults who would like to help their children are also poor readers themselves.  
Company Commitment

The mission of our company is to teach teachers, parents, spouses, children, and adults to master the skill and art of reading and writing.