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  • Testimonials
The reputation of an instructional program is built on the evidence of student achievement and the improvement of teacher attitude toward their chosen profession. The following statements attest to the benefits of the Starting Over program since 1978.
Print Media
New York Daily News: Robert W. Laird, Deputy Editorial Page Editor
The success of Starting Over suggests there is a different way of looking at many students. New York has a winner on its hands.
New York Times: Roberta Hershenson
Educators say they have found a method… a program developed by Joan Knight… that should be widely used to combat the nation’s rampant illiteracy rate.
Riverdale Press: Lindsay Martin
Results have been astonishing, Ms. Fein {assistant principal} said. Students themselves have nothing but good things to say about the program.
Around the UFT
The assistant principal credits Starting Over with improving students’ decoding ability by two to eight grade levels after one year of work. She also notes that attendance is always excellent in these classes.
Their World: Eleanor Harrison, Guidance Counselor
At Kennedy High School, Starting Over is contagious. One reading teacher, after witnessing the progress of these students could not contain her enthusiasm and began, with the help of a trained teacher, to incorporate this method into her lessons. A great spirit of cooperation prevails.
Cosmopolitan: Susan Brown, as told to Arnold Mann
It was also during this time that I got over the hump of being dyslexic with the help of a woman named Joan Knight. We worked on spelling and reading first. We spent hours going through the New York Times, increasing my vocabulary and learning difficult syntax. Those sessions opened up my life. It was as if the windows of my house had been filthy for years, and suddenly someone took a hose and washed them off. For the first time, I could see!

WABC Special “The Need to Read”
Starting Over at DC 37 class for dyslexic union members
Starting Over at Rutgers Presbyterian Church class for Parents and Children

WNBC News Show “Live at 5”
Starting Over at John F. Kennedy High School

Betty Arce | SES Coordinator | NYC Department of Education (NYCDOE)
The use of the Starting Over Development Training Program proved extremely successful in training the teachers working in the Chancellor’s District New York City Learning Academy (NYCLA) after-school program to identify the indicators of students’ learning difficulties and to deliver focused instructional methodologies based on their individual priorities, learning styles and needs.

The structured, sequential and multi-sensory lessons of the training program facilitated teaching and learning, energizing the teachers and motivating students in the process. As a result, the students demonstrated significant improvement in their reading and literacy skills as measured on their post assessments in decoding, phonological awareness, spelling, comprehension and vocabulary.
Clare E. Rosen | Psy.D. | Harrison School District
As the Assistant Director of Special Education in the Harrison School District, I see many students who have significant reading deficits. Until one of our reading specialists studied under Joan Knight several years ago and then brought Joan to our district to train additional staff in the Starting Over Program, we did not see consistently positive progress the students are now making. We currently have staff trained at each of the four elementary schools and at the middle and high schools.

For Harrison, Starting Over, is not only a good training vehicle but also an excellent reading program. It combines the best of the Orton Gillingham model with content reading or literature-based materials. Students who entered middle and/or high school as non-readers are functionally literate. Joan Knight has literally allowed them to Start Over.

Oswaldo Roman l Principal l PS 256Q l NYCDOE
As a result of the Starting Over program our school’s fourth grade ELA Standardized Assessment Scores increased significantly this year. In 2003 PS 256Q ranked fourth among District 75 schools and eleventh among New York
City Schools.

Barbara Kairson l Education Administrator l AFL-CIO
Since 1988, the District Council 37 Education Fund has successfully used the Starting Over program and textbook developed by Joan Knight to teach union members who have experienced severe reading difficulties and dyslexia.
Granger B. Ward | Superintendent of Manhattan High Schools
For the past eleven years, the Manhattan Superintendent’s Office for High Schools has supported the use of Starting Over in many schools. We have contracted with Knight Education to train teachers in the sixty hour practicum course and oversee the delivery of instruction to the teacher’s students.
Michael M. Kadish l Community Superintendent l NYCDOE
District 8 has elected, in the past, to use a portion of its funds to contract with Knight Education Inc. to provide instruction in the Starting Over program for the improvement of reading, writing and spelling.

Knight Education Inc. has a documented track record with low achieving students, having shown an average gain of 4.1 MIU’s (DRP Mid Instructional Units) and a 3.3 NCE (Normal Curve Equivalent) growth on standardized reading comprehension tests for 437 school students in the lowest quartile.
4th Grade Teacher l NYC Department of Education (NYCDOE)
The Starting Over course has shown me the importance of syllables to learning new words. It has helped me know that with consistent application, non-readers are able to read.
Board of Education Member l Westchester School District
Starting Over gave me a new approach to reaching children and encouraging reading. The whole process of the program gave me valuable information.
Elementary School Teacher l NYCDOE
I learned a great deal from the Starting Over course. I gained more knowledge about reading than in any of my teacher methods courses. I now know why certain words have certain spelling patterns. I feel I have a better understanding of the rules for decoding and of phonemic awareness.
Reading Recovery Teacher l NYCDOE
Every session in the Starting Over course was filled with interesting ways to get across sound and word analysis in a way that was fun and inspiring. I have been using the vowel and word guides with my individual students and marveling at how easily these children are learning to recognize words every day. I’m so happy I participated and really feel I have a wonderful foundation for diagnosing and treating some of my at-risk students.
Bilingual Special Education Teacher l NYCDOE
The Starting Over course has given me a better methodology to teach students how to learn sounds, and therefore, how to read and write. This course should be mandated for all teachers, especially, CA, ESL, Reading, and Special Education teachers to give us more skills to teach our students how to read and write.
Classroom Teacher l NYCDOE
The Starting Over course has given me the most wonderful knowledge to re-teach reading, the expectation that it will work. I did not have such expectations before. This is applicable to the inclusion, special education, middle school children who cannot read. I feel that I have been given so many tools that work to help people learn to read. This has been the most wonderful, fulfilling course I have ever taken. I was riveted.
Reading Resource Teacher l Grades 9-12 l Harrison Schools
Starting Over has given me an awareness of sounds that I never had before. As I continue to teach reading to adolescents, my newfound phonemic awareness will help me to teach sounds. Previously, I focused on decoding skills, with little or no attention to the sounds. I am also excited about combining vocabulary with multisensory phonemic awareness. What fun!
Classroom Teacher l Elementary School l Ridgefield, CT
The Starting Over course has given depth to what I already knew and an opportunity to better teach my higher functioning students as well as lower ones. The presentation � getting students involved, engaged and feeling good about learning was excellent. The instructor accomplished what she set out to do: inspiring, educating, involving all her students.
Classroom Teacher l Elementary School l NYCDOE
The Starting Over course has given me new hope in the success of my students. I am looking forward to applying the pearls of wisdom that were shared by the practicum students in our class.
5th Grade Teacher l NYCDOE
The Starting Over course has made me more aware of sounds and the importance and effectiveness of the Starting Over program. I have improved my understanding and execution of the material. This has helped me hone my skills and encourages and motivates me to continue. This program should be in all schools.
Speech/Language Supervisor l Manhattan High Schools l NYCDOE
The Starting Over course was excellent. It has given me new understanding about teaching reading. Speech teachers could use this method with their students.
7th Grade Teacher l NYCDOE
The Starting Over course has been exceptional, organized and sequential. I hated to see it end. Some aspects of the course can be applied to all methods and subjects of teaching. It is the best course I’ve ever had.
Teacher/Counselor l NYCDOE
The Starting Over course has not only given me a philosophy and techniques for working with dyslexics, but it has also stimulated my thinking about traditional students. I have lots of new ideas. It is a long time since I spent such a rewarding two weeks.
Special Education Teacher l NYCDOE
The Starting Over course demonstrated a clear and consistent way to apply a multisensory approach. It pulled together a great deal of linguistic material that I either did not know or did not have organized as a coherent whole. It was instructive to see all questions welcomed and accepted and how that affected the tone of the class.
Early Childhood Teacher l K-2 l NYCDOE
The instructor’s ideas are revolutionary and arrived at through years of working with all types of students who need special help. The Starting Over course offered many ideas for working with young children, and especially those with any degree of difficulty in coping in reading classes.
Queens College l Graduate School Candidate l MA in Applied Linguistics
I learned a great deal about the philosophy and methods of teaching reading in the Starting Over course. The practical experience with my student was wonderfully enriching and we plan to continue our meetings. Class work and teaching practice were a well-integrated, total learning experience.