Everyone's a winner
The GO model Kaminsky cooked up has proved to be effective. A 2010 Johns Hopkins University study found that in the case of teaching reading, one-to-one tutoring works best. Small group tutorials can be effective, but not as much as one-to-one instruction by teachers or paraprofessionals. Research also shows that teachers are more effective as tutors than paraprofessionals or volunteers.
For everyone involved with GO, it's a win-win situation. The students get one-on-one help from a trained professional; the tutors do what they love without dealing with school bureaucracy; the classroom teachers see their kids receive the help that they can't give because of class size; and since the tutors are paid by GO, the parents, who are often struggling themselves, get the services for free for their children.
Kaminsky created a board and raised enough funds to expand the program into four elementary schools and one middle school, with 35 tutors serving 40 students. He recently received a $50,000 grant from a local company, Vector Magnetics, which will allow him to expand even more. Publisher Highlights for Children is donating 200 books and magazine subscriptions for all the students and tutors.
For Kaminsky, it's all about helping every child have a fair chance."Many of these kids have never been on a level playing field," he says. "I want to give them access to the tools that will help them to succeed in life."
Beth Levine is a writer in Stamford, Conn.