A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Monday, June 6, 2016

MaxScholar Reading Program

We received a one year subscription to MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs for review purposes.  I chose Katie and Jack to be my reviewers for MaxScholar.  Both children are working in the MaxGuru program.  MaxScholar also offers a K-2 program, which might have been a better fit for Katie on her own.

There's a lot to unpack in this subscription!  There's MaxPhonics, MaxReading, MaxWords, MaxMusic, MaxVocab, MaxPlaces, and MaxBios.

Miss Katie, who is 5, pretty much keeps to MaxPhonics for now.  There's a lot of "Click the letter that makes the sound __ as in _______."  She's really learning her way around the keyboard as a result.

Katie's favorite part is the games area, which we were late to discover, as I hadn't scrolled down far enough to see that option on one of the screens.  She likes the memory game, and she gets really excited when she finds a pair.

I think the cat might be learning phonics, too.

The Word Builder game really pointed out that Katie is very much an English language learner still.  She could not name a straw, a clam, an ostrich, a scarf, a broom, or a fox from pictures.  She called a ship a boat, a moon the earth, and grass was "Bamboo?"  So this game was difficult for Katie because of her lack of vocabulary mastery, not because she couldn't assemble the words.  She totally got how to move the qua coconut up to -rter to make the word quarter.  She just called it a nickel, so none of the options made sense to her.

For many children, MaxScholar would be a program they could do independently, but for Katie, it was best if she worked near me, so I could answer questions like, "Is that a shirt?" with "No, honey, that's a dress."  Because of this, it's really nice that MaxScholar can be used on PC or iPad.  Our family has a lot of users sharing the school room computer, so having the program available on the iPad means she doesn't have to wait for someone else to get off the PC, and since the iPad is portable, she can hang out with me wherever I'm working.

Jack, who is 12, has explored much more of the site.  MaxReading, MaxPlaces, and MaxBios are all set up the same way, the difference is the subject matter.  MaxPlaces was most appealing to Jack.  You click on a dot on the world map, and then you read a passage about it.  You're supposed to highlight certain concepts in different colors and then answer questions about the passage.  Jack hasn't really worked with highlighters much, so this was a new concept for him.

I was given access to Jack and Katie's progress through a parent account, not a teacher account.  I think this is an important difference.  A teacher account can assign assessments, but a parent account can only see scores.  I can see at a glance when my kids last logged in, and where they're spending the bulk of their time.  For some reason, neither of my kids were assigned the pretest at the beginning of the program.  Jack was (randomly? by performance?) placed in the reading level 4, and Katie, who is sounding out CVC words, was placed in level 6.  This is obviously not an accurate reflection of their reading levels.

MaxScholar sends out helpful emails, with links to video tutorials on how to use the program.  You can email them back and get personal help, if you need it.

I feel like MaxScholar will be a good program for Jack and Katie to continue learning and keep their reading skills sharp over the summer in a non-threatening, less "school-y" way.  Unlike some programs we've used, this program grows with the kids, and they will be able to use it for the full year subscription, rather than being done when they master the subject matter or current grade level.  Also, I find that sometimes approaching a subject from a variety of angles help my kids have a breakthrough when we're struggling with something.  MaxScholar is one more tool in our reading arsenal.

You can connect with MaxScholar in all sorts of ways!  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, G+, Linked In, and YouTube.  To read what other Crew families have to say about their experience with MaxSchoolar, please click the box below.

MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs Review

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