Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
I used MaxScholar a couple of years ago when my current fifth grader was really struggling with reading. It worked well for him. You can read my previous review here. I really attribute this program to his finally unlocking the key to reading, and though he’s still a bit behind grade level, he has grown in leaps and bounds.
Since I was already familiar with the program, I knew it wasn’t going to be a good fit for most of my current readers. I have one son who could benefit, but he’s currently using a different Orton-Gillingham based program, and I didn’t want to switch up when we’re finally experience success with something.
Orton-Gillingham is really a good method for struggling readers!
So instead of sharing how we used this program, I’ll be providing an informative review to help you decide if it’d be a good resource for your homeschool.
What Is MaxScholar Orton-Gillingham Software?
I received a six month subscription to this online software for up to five students. Everything is accessed online, so there aren’t any supplies to worry about losing.
MaxScholar usese Orton-Gillingham methods to help students learn to read. While you can use it with any student, it has been specifically designed for struggling readers, those with learning disabilities, dyslexia, or students who need a bit more practice. A typical student, who is progressing normally with their reading might find this program tedious, as they don’t need as much extra repetition.
This software includes an assortment of phonics and reading programs. You can access them on any device, and there are apps available, though I did not test those out.
The Parent Dashboard
When you sign up, you get access to both the Parent Dashboard and the student account. Each student will need their own account, so they can progress through the right lessons. You shouldn’t have two students share a single student account.
Inside the Parent Dashboard, you can easily access everything you need to get the program ready for each student account. You can adjust their grade level, turn on and off the placement tests, grant access to games, and more. You really have a lot of control over your student’s experience with MaxScholar.
You can view student progress here and keep tabs on how the instruction is going. You can generate reports and access corresponding materials to provide more practice. There is a video instruction lesson that is coming soon. I was able to review these videos, and they do a great job of walking you through the program and giving you the information you need to successfully teach with the Orton-Gillingham method.
The Student Dashboard
There are several different programs available to help kids learn to read. Students in grades PK-2 will have access to MaxPhonics and MaxReading. The other programs begin for students in Grade 3 and up.
However, you can access all of the programs from your parent account when you click on the MyMax icon. This is helpful, so you can get a better sense of what each one entails and decide if it’s something that would benefit your child.
Here’s a bit more information about each one:
This section of the software will help your child master letter sounds. It will help them with basic sounds, long and short vowels, blends, and digraphs.
Your student will need to take a placement test first, to ensure they start at the right place. Then, the lessons progress automatically as they complete them
As your student works through this material, they will practice handwriting as well. The reading-writing connection is so important. There are short videos to help them learn the correct pronunciation. You’ll also find drills to help your student practice all of the sounds they are learning. Finally, there are some games to play for even more practice.
Games are fun, since students often enjoy playing them. They don’t seem as boring as worksheets. Or at least that’s always how my kids felt.
Everything is presented systematically, and it’s very user friendly. You click the Start button when you’re ready to begin.
This is a great way for your student to build reading comprehension skills. It’s based on the Lindamood Bell Reading Program, and really helps your student learn to improve focus and retention during reading. It’s so important to become an active reader, and this program can accomplish just that.
You’ll find several levels of difficult. The beginning levels start with looking for clues in pictures:
Then, they progress in difficulty. Here’s what the final level looks like:
As your student works through each level, they have the opportunity to highlight parts of the text with an electronic highlighter. They can also outline and summarize after reading. These are all important skills to help improve comprehension.
In this program, your child will work on multisyllabic words. Here they’ll learn more about parts of words, such as prefixes and suffixes. They’ll also study roots and spelling rules. There are five different sections for them to work through.
In the CLOVER section, they’ll work on syllabication. Each letter stands for a type of syllabication:
- C- closed syllable (consonant, short vowel, consonant)
- L- LE – only used at the end of words
- O – Open – syllable that ends in a vowel, which is always long
- V – Vowel team – when two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking…
- E – Vowel, Consonant, E – with the E being silent
- R – R controlled syllables feature a bossy R that changes the sound of the vowel
There are drills and games within this section, to help your child mastery syllabication.
If your child enjoys listening to music, this could be a fun way to help encourage them to read. They can select a song from a favorite artist or movie, and read the lyrics. Then there are two types of activities. One asks students to click on each of a certain type of word. The other asks students to fill in the blanks.
Here’s a peek at one of the songs, and the Filler activity:
The Filler activity reminds me of MadGabs, except you’re supposed to put in the right word, not a random one.
You want your kids to have a solid vocabulary. That way they have the words they need to effectively communicate. This section of the program is an interactive dictionary that helps students learn the definition for new words:
There are also word games your child can play.
You can use reading skills to learn about other subjects, such as geography. MaxPlaces lets your child learn more about the world.
They can select one of the dots, and read a passage about that location. Then, they’ll answer questions about what they read:
Finally, there’s a section the software that’ll introduce your kids to important people from different categories (such as Star Athletes and Amazing Women). Inside each category, there are multiple people to learn about.
Here’s what the Helen Keller page looks like:
It’s broken down into chronological sections, so students can create a mental timeline of the events.
After reading, there are questions to answer.
Who Would This Be a Good Fit For?
This program would be a great fit for any student who is having trouble learning to read. It uses a method that is often effective for students with dyslexia or other severe reading problems.
Students using this program should enjoy working on screens, since it’s an online program.
A student who enjoys playing learning games can get extra practice from this program.
This is appropriate for students who cannot yet read, and those who can read but need more practice learning to read well. It also works on reading comprehension, so students who need extra help with that would also be a good fit.
I appreciate that there are a variety of topics for students to choose from. They may not all enjoy reading about historical people, or different places, or song lyrics, but there is a lot of variety so everyone should be able to find content they don’t mind reading about. It’s a good way to help kids get used to reading for information.
If you aren’t sure if your child would benefit from this program, I’d highly recommend you try the 15 day free trial. That’ll give you a chance to poke around the site on your own and let your child experience it.
It may just be the key to their reading success!
To learn more about this program, and to see how other homeschooling families used it, please click on the banner below: