On days when I am willing to beat myself up (or listen to my teenagers do it!), I have feared that the slow pace through phonics would hold J back. I knew he could read well enough, but we never did finish the formal programs begun in the past. And, until this past spring, we had not worked consistently on spelling. If I listened to those negative voices, I would be convinced that I had failed him as a homeschool mom.
Even though I knew his reading seemed to be on target, I wasn’t convinced. This needling sense of doubt is what prompted my interest in MaxScholar for this run on the Homeschool Review Crew.
MaxScholar: For Reading Intervention and More
MaxScholar is a systematic and multi-sensory program for kids struggling with reading from phonics all the way through comprehension and vocabulary.
While it is primarily geared for students with learning struggles such as Attention Deficit Disorder, Dyslexia, and other processing problems, it can be used by anyone needing more help to learn this critical skill.
The five pillars of effective reading instruction are addressed in their program:
When a student begins with the program, they take assessments to determine where they need help. Although a parent can be nearby to answer a “how do I enter this” kind of question, you do NOT want to nudge them to get the correct answer on them.
Assessments are available for MaxPhonics, MaxReading, and MaxWords. These are administered and automatically graded by the online learning system. Scores are available through the teacher dashboard.
The teacher dashboard shows progress for each student enrolled with you. It also has a lot of resources for the teacher for each section of MaxScholar. Professional development is included for classroom teachers and a video section is being developed.
Different Sections of MaxScholar for Reading Intervention and More
Both for phonemic awareness and phonics, they use the Orton Gillingham Method for instruction. This method has been used in classrooms for over 70 years with consistent results and has research to back it all up. Students may be placed in the Pre-K Phonics or MaxPhonics section for this work depending upon their initial assessment.
Once phonics is mastered, they can move into the MaxWords or MaxReading sections.
MaxReading is based on the Lindamood-Bell reading program & Process© ©. Students learn to highlight, outline, and summarize to improve their reading comprehension skills.
MaxWords teaches preﬁxes, suﬃxes, Greek & Latin roots, syllabiﬁcation and spelling rules. If used until completion, a student can expand their vocabulary by 16,000 words.
Other sections of the Reading Intervention Programs subscription include:
MaxMusic – learning games using music
MaxVocab – interactive games that complement MaxReading
MaxPlaces – explore the world and work on reading comprehension
MaxBios – learn about famous people along a timeline to help with chronological ordering skills
Everything they student has access to is found on MyMax when they log into the program.
Our Experience with MaxScholar For Reading Intervention and More
When we sat down for J to do the initial assessment, I was already figuring we’d have a few weeks of phonics review.
I was totally shocked when his assessment for phonics came back saying he was good to go and at the 3rd-grade level already!
So, he has spent some of his time working on reading comprehension instead.
A stumbling block for him in this section has been using the tools to highlight text in the selection. Once he got the hang of it, things started to speed up a bit.
Even with the ‘tech challenge’, J was able to do well on the different areas assessed for reading comprehension. On the parent dashboard, I can click for a detail report showing me all five areas they assess ( Main Idea, Detail, Inference, Compare and Vocabulary.)
My high school son attempted to do the MaxWords assessment. Vocabulary is a key point I want him working on with the ACT and SAT looming in the future. But, he got frustrated during the assessment that he couldn’t remember all the phonics rules. It placed him at level one for that program.
Instead of working through that material, he took time to work on a few games on MaxVocab instead.
The MaxReading assessment was not a struggle for him and placed him right on target for his grade level.
On the parent dashboard, I can see how his time was divided between different areas (with the exception of MaxVocab.)
Final Thoughts on MaxScholar
If you have a child with any reading struggles, this program is definitely worth a close look. If you have a child who you worry over or want an automated way to work on skills like phonics, reading comprehension or vocabulary, then MaxScholar may still be a good fit.
My plan for the remainder of our subscription is to have J work more on reading comprehension and start in on MaxWords. For D, I want him to make progress in both areas although it might be more fun to do some reading comprehension through MaxPlaces.
Don’t just take my word for how we found this to be. Visit MaxScholar post on the Homeschool Review Crew website to see what other homeschooling parents thought about this resource.