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 was quite interested to see how the MaxScholar Orton-Gillingham Software from MaxScholar works when I heard about it. Nine or ten years ago, I had two boys who were not learning to read, no matter what I tried. I came across some online programs that taught math skills, but I couldn’t find anything I liked that would teach reading. In answer to prayer, I finally found a physical program that worked. It was an Orton-Gillingham based program, so that made me curious about how MaxScholar was set up.
Little Miss was put into Level 0 of MaxReading. In this level, she chooses a “chapter”, which is actually a picture. The program asks several questions about the picture for her to think about, and then she moves on to a series of questions with multiple-choice answers. Each question and answer have a button beside them, which when clicked read the sentence aloud. After she chooses an answer, the program moves on to the next question. She’s really enjoying this section of the program.
Mr. Imagination was put into Level 2 of MaxReading. He chose the first book in the list, “Australia”, and has read the first two chapters. Vocabulary words are highlighted; he is instructed to click on them to read the definitions, then read the entire story. After reading the story, he is supposed to highlight the topic of the story, the main idea, and important details, then write an outline of the story. After that he is instructed to write about the story, choosing either to write a summary, answer an open-ended question, or answer a general question. The final activity for each story is a 5-question multiple-choice quiz. Once again, each question and answer have a button to click to hear it read aloud.
For MaxPhonics, he has the choice of working on consonants and short vowels, consonant blends, or digraphs. There are also several games available. I saw a memory game and one where you are to chose the missing part of a word. There is also a section called MaxWords, which teaches rules for breaking down words into syllables, and also covers prefixes and suffixes.
Mr. Sweetie was placed in Level 5 of MaxReading (out of 12 levels). His stories are more advanced, but follow the same progression for each lesson. His options for MaxPhonics and MaxWords are the same as the ones available for Mr. Imagination. He has several other programs available, though: MaxPlaces, MaxBios, MaxMusic and MaxVocab. MaxPlaces begins with a world map. A lot of cities have green dots beside them, and when you click on the dot you get to read a story about that city and then answer some multiple-choice questions about it. MaxBios contains short biographies of people in many different careers, with a quiz after the story. Based on the categories I saw, this is not a program I want my children to spend much time with. MaxMusic contains the lyrics of songs from many different performers and groups—once again, a program I’m not happy for my children to use. MaxVocab looks fun, though, with three types of games to play: Hangman, Definitions, and Word Search.
The teacher’s dashboard contains a wealth of resources. Of course, there is a section for generating reports of each child’s progress in the program, but I also found a section of materials for the teacher. These are actually lesson plans and techniques for teaching a child to read. They look very useful and doable! This program looks quite useful, however, since we already have the other program and have been using it, I will continue to use it. However, I can see it working well for families that need the extra help of letting someone else do part of the teaching. The games will be fun for my children, too. I like to have access to educational games for the odd time when the children want to play on the computer. This program is put together quite well and high quality. If you want to try it out for yourself, there are some lessons that can be watched to see how it works. Also, be sure to click on the image below to see what 60 other families have to say about MaxScholar!