Monday, June 6, 2016

MAXSCHOLAR (MaxGuru): a Reading Intervention Program Review

MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs Review
This weeks review is brought to you by MaxScholar!  I was given a one year membership for two of my kids to the  MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs MaxGuru!   While this program is listed as a "Reading Intervention Program" it really is an all inclusive reading/grammar program and not just for "intervention".  It encompasses a wide range of learning ranging from teaching the basics of pre-k phonics all the way through teaching how to summarize and outline paragraphs, recognizing Greek and Latin roots, vocabulary, parts of speech and more.
     Our one year subscription to the  MaxGuru program gave us a lot of different learning of learning options.   They included:
  • All MaxPhonics
  • All MaxReading
  • All MaxWords
  • All MaxMusic
  • All MaxPlaces
  • All MaxBios
  • All MaxVocab
     A10 and J9 were my testers.  I planned on having D7 and E6 try it out too but upon getting the older two boys registered, I was a little overwhelmed with it all and decided to just do the two older boys and see how things went. Because of some things that we feel are inappropriate, we will not be having them try it.  Nor will the other boys continue.  These are for preference reasons and I will explain.
     My boys were using two programs at one time to review (bless their hearts) and they definitely liked this one better!  This is the one they asked for and looked forward to doing- so that's good.
J9 working in phonics
     They started by clicking on whatever looked good.   Max phonics came first so we clicked on that first.  J9 really liked the phonics portion and enjoyed how interactive it was.  It would have been harder to do with a mouse but thankfully we had a touch screen.
      I wish there had been a clear "starting point".  It was kind of like "okay Phonics was nice- now what?"  Eventually we clicked on "Max Reading".  There was a placement test at the beginning of that so that was great to find!  I like things that are systematic so this felt like familiar space.
A10 taking the reading test
   They took the test but  I felt like it was a little wonky.  I didn't need to really adjust anything, so it wasn't a flop.  I just think it could be tweaked a little more in order to get a more accurate assessment.  I think it could have started off at a younger starting point as well.
     The first thing they give you in the test is a longer story on a page.  A10 could read it just fine but J9 was immediately overwhelmed.  There is a "too hard" button to click and then it generates something on a lower level.  It took us a minute to see it, though, and know to click it.  I think the program should have started with a younger starting point.
     Also, I thought some of their questions were.... not really..... kosher?  One of the question in the reading test was a twist on the game "hangman".  They gave a definition and then filled in the anser line with only one letter.  Here was the question in a paraphrase (The definition was longer but the main question is the same.  I should have takes a picture but I didn't):
  question:  "The act of inhaling tobacco" answer: "smoKing" (K was the letter they had filled in already).
     I just really felt like that didn't need to be in a childrens reading program- Know what I mean?!  This was a "red flag" for me and made me feel like I needed to monitor the program more closely.
     Moving on:  My boys found the different programs and learning games pretty interesting and enjoyable enough (but not quite fun). The layout of all the programs was good and the graphics were up to date with today's technology.  The voice was a little computer-y but not too bad.  Overall it was visually and audibly pleasing.
      It was great that in all the programs it kept track of where each boy was and would pick up where they left off.  We hate it when programs are more "willy-nilly".  I also appreciate that easch boy had their own log in/account. 
     The other activities in the MaxReading program were good.  I thought it did a good job of helping with comprehension and writing structure.  I didn't really see anything else at this point that was "inappropriate" but I didn't read everything they did.
     One of the other sections that my boy's were very interested in was MaxMusic. the music artist list could have been better but I thought "meh- it is what it is".  I pick one of Louis Armstrongs songs for J9 to do.  He had a lot of fun with it and especially loved the piano player!

    It was all fun and games though until A10 went on it and then came and asked me "What's a dangerous love affair?  BUT WHERE DID YOU HEAR THAT????  So he had clicked on "JayZ" and the song option was "Run this Town".  And THOSE were in the lyrics.  I have included a picture of this one!  This made me look at all the song choices.  I found  a lot of them to be totally inappropriate!  I get that this is not a christian program but there are soooooo many positive message/kid appropriate songs out there that can be used!  And I don't think the argument that they are not "current" fly!  I run a Cotillion Group and I have to find current, positive message music to use, so I know, they ARE out there!!! Rant over and no more Max Music.
     At this point, I was really wondering if there were more things in the reading program that I would not like that I just wasn't seeing.  I feel like between the smoking question and the music selections that the integrity of the material was totally compromised.
While, in the end, my kids will not be continuing in this program, my overall opinion of the academics within the program are good. I think the  MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs are well done and I really liked the stress on comprehension and the way it keeps track of where each child is at on their learning journey.  I just felt really uneasy with what content they would run across with this program as, obviously, they have a different opinion of what is child appropriate and what is not.
comprehension question from MaxReading
You can always check them out on Social Media and read other reviews by clicking on the review link below.

Check out MaxScholar on social media:
Click on the link below to read other reviews!
MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs Review
 Crew Disclaimer

No comments:

Post a Comment