MINDsprinting Article

By Kevin Smith, Staff Writer 

Amy Disston's daughter Brittany has grappled with reading problems ever since she started school.

But eight months ago, the 11-year-old fifth-grader began using MINDsprinting, a free online K-12 math and reading tutoring service with an added emphasis on the state standards.

And that, according to Disston, has made all the difference.

"It really is a great program," Disston said. "She likes it and will go get her lessons without us bugging her. She has greatly improved in reading and comprehension - we are so happy. I really think this is a great tool for any parent who wants their child to improve but doesn't really know how to get started."

MINDsprinting LLC is the brainchild of Doug Golden and his brother, Steve, who founded the Miami, Fla.-based business in 2003 and morphed it into a free tutoring service in mid-May of this year.

"We started doing some minor advertising around July 21, so in that short time we already have more 35,000 enrollees," Doug Golden said. "These are the people who have gone online (www.mindsprinting.com), gone through the registration process and opened accounts."

But scores of others are visiting the Web site as well, he said.

"That number doesn't include the people who come online daily to look around and kick the tires," he said. "Frankly, it's been pretty amazing."

Parents account for the bulk of MINDsprinting's enrollment, but Golden said the program is seeing heavy use in other areas, too.

"Lots of schools from the around the country are using it on a daily basis, schools big and small," he said. "And a number of hospitals are coming online. It's fascinating and rewarding."

Medical institutions such as the Mayo Clinic and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center are among the users, according to Golden.

"Our hunch is that it's being used by children who are hospitalized," he said. "It's kind of an incredible feeling. We had no idea that we could touch so many areas. And it's also being used by quite a number of re-employment agencies and job-training companies."

MINDsprinting features an interactive assessment test that analyzes each individual student's skills and needs, tailoring a program specifically for that user.

The program also adheres to state standards. MINDsprinting's state standards math, for example, was created to help teachers and parents ensure students are prepared for the annual math exam.

Because each state has its own standards, MINDsprinting created 51 different programs that address the required skills, by grade, in the exact order created by each state.

Disston especially likes the Dashboard feature, which allows her to closely track her daughter's progress, see her test results and print out lessons.

"I can check up on her and see everything," she said.

MINDsprinting earns its revenue through advertising, which makes it possible for the company to offer its online tutoring services for free.

"Our system is very similar to Kumon in the way we deliver our lessons," Golden said. "But Kumon could cost $2,000 a year per child for the reading and math programs. And if you go to Sylvan Learning Center or Huntington Learning Center that could be over $6,000 a year."

About MINDsprinting

Headquartered in Miami, FL, MINDsprinting offers tailored, directed, worksheet programs for FREE from (www.mindsprinting.com).