One of my children has had a hard time learning to read fluently. We’ve tried plenty of different programs, but until recently, nothing really clicked. They’d help him learn a word or two, but as far as reading confidence or fluency, there was no change.
Until we started using the Reading Intervention Programs from MaxScholar. After doing some basic research, I eagerly signed up to review this product, hoping it’d help my son finally crack the reading code.
What Is This Product?
Reading Intervention Programs from MaxScholar are an online resource that you purchase a subscription to. (It does work best in Google Chrome, so if you use a different browser you might need to switch for this program.) It’s designed for struggling readers, those with learning disabilities, dyslexia, or students who need a bit more practice.
There is a parent log in, which takes you to the parent/teacher dashboard. From here, you can view reports, make sure your student is assigned the placement tests, and track progress. It’s fairly user friendly, which means checking progress doesn’t take forever. 😀
From the parent dashboard you can also go directly to the student content, and check out any of the content to get a better idea of what your student may need to focus on.
In the materials section, under professional development, there were tons of valuable resources for learning more about the Orton Gillingham Approach to teaching reading. I’d learned some of this back in college, but it was nice to have a refresher, especially since I have a child who is benefiting from this approach. Just look at a sample of the types of material available:
The Student Dashboard
When it’s time for your student to work, they log in directly to their own dashboard. The first thing they’ll need to do is take the placement tests. My son took a placement test for MaxPhonics, MaxReading, and MaxWords.
He tested out of the phonics lessons, so we focused primarily on reading and words during the review period.
Each day he’d log in, and I’d ask him to complete a lesson in either MaxReading, or MaxWords. I had him spend most of his time in MaxWords, because that’s where I saw instruction that was helping him the most.
The MaxWords lessons sort of pick up where the phonics instruction leaves off. It focuses on syllable breakdowns, long vowel sounds, and common spelling patterns, in a systematic way. I think this is what was key for my math loving son. He thrives in routine and rules, and this was the first time he really applied those things to reading in a purposeful way.
Some lessons were short – only taking 10 minutes. Others were longer and took about thirty. Each had him practice what he learned right away, so he had a chance to use his new knowledge. There was a lot of repetition of words, which helped him feel successful. He’d often point to the second instance of a word and exclaim, hey I just read that one!
At the end of each lesson, he had the opportunity to do a timed fluency test. These really motivated him, and he worked hard to read as many words as he could in a minute.
As we continue working through these lessons, he’ll learn about Greek and Latin roots, and prefixes and suffixes. I think these lessons will really give him the skills he needs to break down a word and read it with understanding.
MaxReading was the other area my son spent time. These started with an engaging passage to be read. I had my son read it aloud to me.
Then, he had to answer questions about the text and highlight main ideas. I didn’t like the highlighting part, because I felt like it never provided adequate instruction on what it was looking for. But, the question component was appropriate.
This part reminded me of the passages and questions you’d see on a standardized test, though the passages were a bit longer than those tend to be.
There were several topics to choose from, so you could help your child pick a topic of interest.
Other than the placement test, my son didn’t work with this section. It cover sounds of the English language, something we’ve worked a ton on.
The student starts a lesson and it uses a multi-sensory approach (listen to the sound, draw the letter with your finger and say the sound) to teaching phonics. In addition to consonant and short vowel sounds, students learn blends and digraphs.
How We Used This in Our Homeschool
I had my son log in to MaxScholar several times a week and complete a lesson. Some of the lessons in the MaxWords section were really long (covering all the spelling patterns for long a for instance), so we broke those down into multiple days.
I sat with him, but he was independent on everything but the highlighting piece mentioned above.
What We Thought of MaxScholar
For any other child of mine, this program would have been tedious and boring. But, it was a great fit for my struggling reader. He thrived with it, and is applying what he learned to his reading offline as well.
He even started reading a chapter book for the first time.
I’m very happy with the results, and will continue having him work through it. It’s a great fit for the way his brain is wired.
If you have an older, struggling reader, I definitely recommend you give MaxScholar a try. The systematic approach me be just what they were missing. It helped my son put the pieces to the reading puzzle together, and really improved his confidence.
To see what other reviewers thought of MaxScholar, please click on the banner below.