I have been talking a lot on line and to friends about our experience while reviewing MaxScholar and the MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs the last few weeks. Today, I’d like to take a walk through of how we used the program specifically.
I started by looking through their online website, MaxScholar. I am still interested in reviewing reading programs as my youngest 15 year old, son has processing difficulties and a possible learning disability when it comes to reading comprehension. So far, the only thing I knew to do was to make him read more. That hasn’t helped. I liked the information they gave online explaining the MaxScholar Reading Intervention Program for older students.
MaxScholar caught my attention when it mentioned the Orton-Gillingham approach. We used a phonics program that was a combination of Orton-Gillingham and Spalding Method for phonics. Both of my sons can break down a word to spell or read it. Reading – they can do well. Telling me what they read moments after? Not so much.
MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs has a two fold system. Phonics and Reading. We were given a year long access. I focused on the Reading portion due to some time restraints at home.
The first step is a Test. Depending on how they do, the student is placed in a level. If you feel that the level isn’t correct, a simple call to the company can get it adjusted. I think our group was considered a school – and our account came with a Parent login and a Student Log In. From the Parent log in I could see how he did on his work, what levels he was on, how long he was spending online each day, and breakdowns of the areas he was working on. I didn’t have access to change anything, to do that, a quick email and a fast response resolved any questions I had. One, was the phonics portion, was it meant for older students? Yes! The Phonics Test for High School covers the Orton-Gillingham method step by step. When you miss a step, no matter the age, that is the level they put you on. On the Reading Test, I wasn’t sure what placed him, but he ended up on the 9th level. On the phonics test, we were not sure what the first few questions were, they regarded the syllables of words and what type of syllables the word used. You can click SKIP on a question if you are not aware of the topic.
When you log into the program, there are large circles that let you choose Phonics or Reading. Under the Reading – is the choice to go to the next chapter.
When my 15 year old son started – I wanted to be able to pick a topic that he might be interested in. When you click on the square with the 9, a page opens up with three options, The World, The Environment, and Icons. Think – People, Places, and Things. Jon started with Whales. He liked picking his topic each day, so we never used the ‘Or Continue Where You Left Off’ feature. One thing to note – he clicked Icons, Steve Jobs, one day. It was the longest hardest chapter he had done so far. I’m thinking because it was the end of the choices. Maybe – the end of the calendar year if you were doing each category as a ‘book’, and each title as a Chapter.
The student goes through a process of a chapter a day. First – You read the Chapter. It has some vocabulary words highlighted. Clicking on them will give the dictionary description. Second, you highlight the article. The third step is to write a Summary, or Answer a general question. The student types out their answers. The final step is the Comprehension Questions. This could take Jon anywhere from 10 minutes to a half hour. If he wasn’t satisfied with his score, he could choose to re-do a chapter.
The first time? On Whales? A topic he is an expert in? Well. We’ll just not post that score, but it left me wondering if we picked a level too high, or if he really couldn’t do it. The first day, we had skipped the highlighting.
The second day, I asked him to highlight at least three words in each sentence. They have about 250-300+ words to highlight in the chapter. Our previously used outlining program said that 3-4 per sentence was sufficient. Jon wanted to do it the way MaxScholar instructed, and tried to find them all. He skipped the writing section and then did the comprehension. He go 100%. He was hooked.
Since then, it’s been sort of like a reading drug. He likes getting 100%’s on a 9th grade level program. It also brought up his English score that we turn into High School to qualify to play baseball. Jon willingly gets on the computer, first thing in the morning, and works on a chapter. Can there be any higher praise?
He’s done quite a few chapters in each of the three topics. If he gets a low highlight score, he’ll go back and do more. Now, the whole lesson is taking less and less time. I believe, and we have experienced, that he doesn’t really pay attention to what he is reading. Pausing to pick out the words has seriously helped. He has also just been going to the second screen to read and highlight all at once. The chapters can be pretty long and he gets discouraged reading it twice.
Content – Strangely, if he gets wrapped up in the content, he’ll read it once, then highlight. The topics are seriously interesting and deeply detailed. I’ve finally been able to experience the teacher’s joy of listening to him talk about what he’s read later that day – or better yet later that week – or best yet – overhearing him talk about Mt. Everest or the Taj Mahal to someone else. Taj Mahal, New York City and Tokyo are a few places. Henry Doorly Zoo was a favorite, Bees, Whales, Platypus, Maui and Mt Everest were enjoyed. Icons / People were his least favorite, and he has so far only picked Steve Jobs. The people are from US History, or Modern History – Gandhi, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, Alfred Hitchcock to name a few. So our studies with Geography, US History, and Earth Science were all enhanced. This is a factual program. It isn’t a ‘Christian’ reading program, but we also didn’t see any red flags. We are also working with a device that he wears and he reads out loud while using it – so I have heard many of the stories.
There are other parts to the “MaxGuru” – Max Words, MaxMusic, MaxVocab, Max Places and MaxBios. I spent a day in each zone to get a feel for the program. Max Music is fun in that it plays off of current Pop music songs. You can do most of the MaxReading activities using your favorite songs. Kind of weird. Kind of Cool. The Max Vocab and Max Places (geography) is something that I want to explore further. Our need was the reading – so that is where we camped out.
We are going to continue through the remaining chapters of MaxReading through the summer. I’m planning on starting Jon on the MaxPhonics after he gets back from camp, or this fall. I was surprised that a program had upper level phonics work that would help him with his Latin, vocabulary and grammar.
There is quite a bit of information online:
Social Media Links:
Facebook: MaxScholar, https://www.facebook.com/MaxScholarLLC/?fref=nf
Twitter: @MaxScholarLLC, https://twitter.com/MaxScholarLLC
Pintrest: MaxScholar LLC, https://www.pinterest.com/MaxScholarLLC/
Google+: MaxScholar, https://plus.google.com/+Maxscholar/posts
LinkedIn: MaxScholar, https://www.linkedin.com/company/2884620
YouTube: MaxScholar LLC, https://www.youtube.com/user/MaxScholarLLC
Many crew members reviewed the programs, please check out their reviews as well. I am recommending this to all of my in town friends and have shared it with a few school administrators. I am positive that this could quite possibly be the easiest way to administer an Orton-Gillingham program to young children, especially since they could use a tablet, an iPad or a laptop. I have friends who have spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars and many weeks learning how to teach the O.G. program. This online tool seems to be an amazing solution to teachers.
There is a lot of reading science behind this program. This is not a cute – read a fun story on an ipad – program. Each step is calculated and part of a whole program. Well Done MaxScholar!
Thank you. This might just be what I am looking for for James.
The steps with the reading are the IEW – Structured Writing Intensive (SWI) format. Read, keyword, write it back out in your words, and review. I love the Teaching Writing with Structure and Style – and this seems to be an online version of it. I like the flexibility that if they only have time to read it, and highlight most of it and answer the questions – it will let them move on, but if needed, there is a lot of meat to work through. And the stories are definately Living Book style.