Monday, June 6, 2016

MaxScholar a TOS Crew Review
The last few weeks my family has been using MaxScholar. My family received a one year subscription to MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs for two kids. We are doing the MaxGuru.

What is MaxScholar?
MaxScholar is intended for kids who struggle with reading. They use the methods of the Orton-Gillingham approach and the the Lindamood-Bell Process. They use a multi-sensory approach to help the student read.

Incorporating the Five Pillars of Reading in MaxScholar's approach. Just in cast you aren't familiar with the Five Pillars of Reading they  are: Phonetic Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary, and Comprehension.

Their goal is to help kids who struggle with Dyslexia, ADHD, learning disabilities, and so much more. It’s for grades pre-K through 12 th grade. You can use this on a tablet or a computer. I love the variety they offer that make reading fun and multi-sensory for kids available in the MaxGuru.
MaxPhonics – I love that they teach using the Orton-Gillingham method with teaching the basics of phonics.
MaxReading –reading comprehension strategies based on the Lindamood-Bell process to teaching reading.
MaxWords –  learning spelling, prefixes, suffixes, and Latin and Greek roots.
MaxVocab – Playing games with the new words you are learn.

MaxBio – working on those reading skills with reading biographies.
MaxMusic –learn about song lyrics, and how to play them on the on screen piano.
MaxPlaces –reading while learning about different places around the world.

I decided to have my 13 year old daughter who is a struggling reader with learning disabilities and high functioning Autism. My 10 year old son who is a good reader and no learning issues but, I wanted to strengthen his skills even more so.

The first thing you do is to take a pre-test to determine your level. For my daughter she struggled with the pre-test and I had to hit the “too hard” tab often. I was able to lower it to her level. She really struggled with this whole program and was frustrated from the start. She liked the games. It requires you to complete the assignment first. Which I am glad they do that. I finally put her in the phonics and this made her happy as she felt confident to complete the assignment. Eventually, she made it over to MaxMusic after watching her brother do it several times.

My son on the other hand jumped all around and explored every section that he could. He used this several times in the week and spent a lot of time on it. 

My son wasn’t too thrilled with highlighting section in the reading. I even found it difficult at times. I usually had to sit down and help him in this area. You can read the short chapter book or have it read out loud to you. I guess it was so different than what we do in our homeschool. I do a lot of reading out loud and we talk a lot about the story. I know that my son and even my daughter have a good grasp on the story and comprehend what is being read to them. Even when my son reads independently I ask questions for comprehension. I get why they are doing it. They want to make sure that the student comprehends the story. They break it down with outlining and summarizing. You need to identify the main idea, the stories topics. This just felt like a lot of busy work or maybe it was just so different how we address this in our homeschool.

My son found all the reading section enjoyable and has been intrigued with them. They have a large variety to choose from.
My sons favorite section was the MaxMusic. It was a lot of fun and very unique in learning tool. The only thing that was a letdown was the variety of artist and songs. I’m sure these artists and songs are popular among other kids. We just didn’t know the majority of them and they weren’t our music genre.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, this was an enjoyable experience. Everything was very easy for my son to navigate through. He thought it was overall a fun program. My son thought it was tough at times. Which isn’t a bad thing being challenged. Overall, he liked MaxScholar. I felt it was good way for him to strengthen his reading skills.

I have to say that I have a hard time seeing this for kids with learning disabilities. My daughter just was more frustrated than I’d like her to be while using MaxScholar. I just don’t think it was a good fit with her. With her Autism she just shut down with it.
MaxScholar kept use up to date with emails. They had lots of tutorials available. I found these very helpful.

I had two kids using this on totally opposite ends of skill level and with different results and experiences! I can’t say that I wouldn’t recommend MaxScholar. It just wasn’t a good fit for my daughter. I really wanted it to work with her. For my son it was positive and it challenged him.
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Don’t forget to stop by and see what others are saying with the TOS Crew.

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