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
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
MINDsprinting features an interactive assessment test that analyzes each
individual student's skills and needs, tailoring a program specifically for
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."
Headquartered in Miami, FL, MINDsprinting offers tailored, directed,
worksheet programs for FREE from