As the parent of a young learner, I am constantly in the lookout for new ways to introduce reading to my kids. One of the programs that I recently had the chance to use is the Reading Intervention Programs offered by MaxScholar.
On MaxScholar’s Multisensory Reading Program
The premise is based on the Orton-Gillingham method, which uses the different senses to reinforce reading skills. The advantage of this is that no matter what your child’s learning style is — such as visual or kinesthetic — they will positively respond to the program.
There are different learning areas that come with the subscription to MaxScholar. First is MaxPhonics, which is designed for younger children. It is the foundation of reading because it introduces letters and sounds. For the MaxWords section, students are taught to build their vocabulary as well as learn how to spell. Notably, it also teaches Greek and Latin root words. MaxReading is all about reading comprehension and helps practice students pay attention to what they are reading. This part is fun — MaxMusic helps practice auditory skills using music. MaxVocab build vocabulary using games. Rounding it out are MaxPlaces, which uses geography to help build reading comprehension skills and MaxBios, which focuses reading about famous people.
On Using the Program
The account has separate logins for parents and students. Like most reading programs, the student can take an assessment test to see where their skill levels are. Although the test is optional, it can provide parents a better idea on which part of the program their child should start with.
One thing I appreciated is the well-designed interface of the program. The design is clear, uncluttered, and intuitive. Even dinosaurs scared of the computer (like me!) won’t have a hard time operating it. There is also an effective tutorial option at the beginning for extra assistance.
For our family, I intended to use MaxScholar to help H practice reading. Her reading has improved exponentially over the summer, so she was able to start practicing with the MaxBios section with assistance.
Incidentally, I get the feeling that the makers of MaxScholars are from the cool crowd because it had sections on hip-hop artists featuring Biggie Smalls and Jay Z. Tyra Banks is included alongside Helen Keller under the Amazing Women category.
On Our Impressions
I think the main advantage of MaxScholar is that it means what it says about the multisensory approach. There’s music, games, and other activities that keep the lessons from being stale and dry for kids.
MaxScholar lives up to its name in that there is a scholarly approach to learning, but there is also a lightheartedness about it that really appeals us. I can’t get over the fact that kids get to read about Jay Z and Tyra Banks! In other programs, this would be considered heresy. But why not? This to me also makes a very valid point about reading: you don’t have to be so high brow to be a good reader. Contemporary topics are just as good as Beatrix Potter-era books.
This for me is the biggest reason why parents should explore the MaxScholar program. More than the reading skills (which of course I think is also good), I think it teaches a love of reading that goes beyond the usual. Reading should be an inclusive activity and I really appreciate that this is not dismissive of more contemporary topics.
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