Wednesday, 8 June 2016

MaxScholar - TOS Review

I'm always excited when we get offered the chance to review something we really need. Step up the MaxScholar Reading Intervention Program by MaxScholar.

MaxScholar have created a systematic, comprehensive and multi-sensory online program designed to help students improve their reading and language skills. It was specifically created to help students that have dyslexia, learning disablitlies, ADHD, processing problems and those who are struggling to read and need extra help. They have put lots of research into creating this (including utilising methods from the 
Orton-Gillingham approach and the Lindamood-Bell Process) and have included a read-aloud feature for struggling readers. 

They start by asking your student to take a pre-test to work out exactly where they are in terms of comprehension and reading skills so they can put your child where they need to be, but you can ask the company to adjust that placement later if you feel the need to. They then go on to do activities at their level, progressing through the levels as they improve. For the best results it should ideally be used three to four times a week, each lesson takes on average 20-30 minutes per lesson.

We were given a years access to the MaxGuru pack which included;

MaxPhonics - this uses a multi-sensory phonics approach to work on letter sounds, blends, digraphs and even work on your handwriting. Activities include movies, drills and fun games that really reinforce what they are learning.

MaxWords - offering multiple levels that look at prefixes, suffixes, Latin and Greek roots, spelling rules and syllabication. They work on decoding words through multiple games and activities that allow them to really work with and understand the roots and rules. There are also timed readings that help improve fluency.

MaxVocab - a dictionary like no other, this section teaches thousands of word meanings through games like matching definitions and hangman.

MaxReading - with 13 levels there is something for everyone. This section teaches strategies to improve reading comprehension and introduces the concepts of highlighting, summarising, outlining and how to pick out the topic, main idea, and important details within a passage. Comprehension questions at the end of the text include multiple choice. You are
automatically scored as you progress so you can opt redo the chapter, look at the correct answers or progress to the next chapter.

MaxBio - by selecting famous people from the past and present they get to practise reading, comprehension and organising skills while reading biographies from sportsmen, musicians, political leaders, entrepreneurs, scientists etc.

MaxMusic - this is a really fun section where you get to use music and games to work on memory skills, recognition, grammar and auditory skills. It uses well known songs and asks you to identify parts of speech, remember words and play along on a virtual piano or guitar.

MaxPlaces - here you get to select from 51 countries around the world. After reading the passage and highlighting parts, it test your comprehension and reading by asking a series of questions. Although similar in set up to MaxReading and MaxBio it also sneaks in some additional history and geography knowledge.

MaxReports - this is the parents section that allow you to see the last time your students were logged in and where they were doing. This allows independent working.

I real like that MaxScholar have really tried to utilise relevant material to engage interest (the music choices and reading passages were spot on). I was also impressed by the balance of games to learning - too often I find programmes can be all about entertaining the child so that the content suffers or all about content so they are dry and boring. I felt that MaxScholar hit the balance perfectly, they were entertaining but still had a high level of educational content. I loved the fact that the programme is designed to reacts to your students evolving reading level.

My favourite aspect was the extra teaching I got from what I expected to be a reading programme - history, geography, grammar, music, vocabulary, Latin etc.

Tulip was the child that benefited most from this and in her words

 'I find reading abit easier and I learnt to find all the important bits on a page' 
' it made reading more fun'

MaxScholar is currently offering a 20% discount making MaxGuru available for $279

If you are looking for a fun and painless way to improve reading skills and comprehension then its definitely worth checking out.

You can see what my crewmates thought over at the TOS Blog

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