Tom Knutson

Assistant Professor of Literacy and Special Education Get Contact Info


Education Education Graduate Studies


Tom Knutson is a Visiting Professor at Carroll University where he facilitates courses in the Reading Teacher graduate program and teaches undergraduate classes on learning disabilities and IEP writing. Tom is also working towards a PhD in Language and Literacy at Cardinal Stritch University with a research emphasis on Developmental Dyslexia.  Before coming to Carroll University, Tom served as a district K-12 literacy coordinator, a special education and literacy instructional coach, and a middle school special education teacher. Here, he led district wide efforts around EMLSS implementation, facilitated curriculum reviews and adoptions, supported teachers’ literacy instruction and collaborative problem solving skills, and delivered intensive reading and writing intervention to students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Central to Tom’s values is the unwavering conviction that all students can become proficient readers when school systems provide evidence-based reading instruction throughout the K-12 school years.  


  • Undergraduate degree from UW-Whitewater (Cross-Categorical Special Education) 
  • Masters degree from Carroll University (Reading specialist) 
  • Currently enrolled at Cardinal Stritch University’s Language and Literacy Doctoral Program- expected graduation date of August 2024 

Areas of Specialization

  • Reading development and delay across the K-12 years 
  • Special education working conditions and implementation science  
  • Reading assessment  

What is your teaching style?

I believe adult learners thrive in environments where there is structured discourse focused upon the content being covered. Through discussion, content can be grappled with and this supports knowledge acquisition. I also believe that lectures can be effective so long as students are actively engaged through purposeful activities that help them wrestle with the given content.

Why do you do what you do?

My why is to help promote the use of evidence based reading practices that can address the very poor literacy outcomes for many of our most disadvantaged youth. I believe with strong literacy skills, children have access to society's most important institutions. As such, working with preservice and graduate students, and publishing research that is focused upon addressing the research to practice gap, I feel I am making a difference in an area that can truly change the trajectory of people's lives.

How do you make learning engaging?

It starts with the why of the work- if we can get all students reading, we are equipping them with skills required to access our 21st century society. I ground all of the work I do with CU students within this purpose. When we know how important the work is, it makes it inherently more engaging. I also place a lot of stock in having fun- taking time to get to know my students and building community.

What should students know about you?

If I seem intense at times- it is because I care about them and their ability to be prepared as educators. A teacher has the capacity to change the entire trajectory of a student's life. Knowing this, I take the job of teacher preparation very seriously. They should also know that I have an open door policy- I am alway here to support students as they move through CU’s education program.
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