What does MAX stand for?

MAX is an acronym that stands for the three steps of the teaching framework that any teacher can use to help all students better learn their subject matter and improve the literacy skills of all students. The essential goal of teachers who use the MAX Teaching framework is to level the playing field by raising the bar for all students, in a classroom environment that provides skill instruction to enable improved performance while engaging all students in active learning from textbooks and other forms of textual matter. The acronym stands for Motivation, Acquisition, and EXtension.


Each class begins with activities designed to motivate students to become engaged in the learning of content in which they might otherwise not be interested. This is accomplished through the systematic use of both individual and cooperative activities that help the teacher

It is through carefully guided implementation of all of these components that students who otherwise might not have taken an interest in the learning experience are guided to become curious about subject matter and to have a plan for finding new information.


Once students have clear purposes for learning, the teacher facilitates guided practice in the learning skill introduced in the Motivation stage of the lesson. (The exact skill to be practiced varies depending on the needs of the students, the structure and/or difficulty of the text, or on other variables.) In the Acquisition phase of the lesson, each student

Typically, this part of the class involves silent reading by students as they each gather information to be brought to small-group and whole-class discussion after the reading. In some cases, where student reading abilities are uniformly well below the level of the text, the teacher might read all or a part of the text aloud to the class. However, as early in the school year as possible, students should be allowed to practice mature silent reading to gather information through their own interpretations.


The final phase of the lesson framework involves EXtension beyond the text through various activities that might include debate, discussion, writing, reorganizing, or otherwise manipulating the ideas that were confronted in the reading. Students meet in small groups and as a whole class to construct meaning from the text. The teacher, in this phase of the lesson, acts as a facilitator for the higher order thinking that will allow students to perform synthesis of information with what they already knew before the lesson, analysis of new ideas, application-level thinking as to how what they have learned might work in the real world or under other circumstances, or even evaluation of the authors' underlying intent. It is through such higher order thinking that students develop more complete understandings about new content. It is also through such practice in higher order thinking that students develop the skills and abilities to perform these tasks on their own as independent life-long learners.

The principles underlying the MAX Teaching framework are well researched over many years. The essential components of the use of cooperative learning throughout the first and last phases of the lesson, and the systematic introduction of skills in which students are given guided practice in the use of language as a tool for thinking combine to help all students learn how to become effective at learning and thinking. In addition, the MAX Teaching framework provides a way for upper grade teachers to help compensate for the lack of language skills development that too many children exhibit.


All effective teachers use some form of the three steps of MAX. At the beginning of class, most teachers use some form of an "anticipatory set" to get students thinking about the subject matter. The new information is often then "presented" in some format such as lecture, video, teacher-led discussion, etc. The presentation of new information is usually followed by some form of check such as a worksheet or quiz. Thus, the paradigm shift in using MAX as a framework of instruction is easy for most teachers since, with MAX, they now become facilitators of active learning on the part of the students through the use of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking in the middle and final phases of class. The teacher acts as a "master learner" among "apprentice learners" in a classroom wherein the focus is on acquisition of knowledge and skills through guided practice in using literacy skills to process new subject matter.

Using literacy skills to process new understandings can easily become the central focus of a classroom and can be used as a way to learn any new information. The variety of tested strategies available to teachers is enormous. Researched and proven strategies abound. Thus, practicing literacy skills to learn should not be a once-a-week or once-a-month activity. It can become the routine of a classroom in which students are daily engaged in making personal meaning from text and discussion.


Teachers who use the MAX teaching framework do not need to be reading specialists. Academic and vocational teachers from the elementary grades through high school only need to recognize that by using the concrete tools of text and student writing, along with teacher modeling and cooperative learning, they can help their students routinely achieve higher order thinking about their subject matter. Staff development in using these strategies is accomplished through hands-on demonstration and modeling. Any teacher can use these techniques. After receiving staff development in using reading and writing to learn, most teachers are able to use a variety of reading/writing strategies immediately in their classrooms. Recent research has demonstrated that students can improve their reading levels by two or more years over a six month time period when exposed to learning through these strategies (Schoenbach, et al., 2001). Which teachers would not want to teach this way?



Dr. Mark Forget (pronounced forzháy)
President and Director of Staff Development


Todd Luke
Vice-President / Career Technical


Rosemarie Robinson Uribe-Quintana
Vice-President / Staff Development Coordinator


Mark, Todd, and Rosemarie are the principals of MAX Teaching, while much of our work is done by a staff of master teachers and staff developers from all over the country. Included in this group are teachers in mathematics, science, social studies, language arts, career-technical fields, and others. Many are currently practicing teachers, administrators, or superintendents. Every MAX Teaching consultant has been using the MAX Teaching methods in his/her classroom for many years, and is thoroughly prepared by that experience, and by extensive training with MAX Teaching, in working with groups of teachers from all types of schools. Every MAX Teaching consultant is ready not only to talk the talk, but to walk the walk. Each is prepared to model the MAX Teaching methods in any subject area classroom from kindergarten through junior college. For more information on our consultants, contact us.



MAX Teaching with Reading and WritingMAX Teaching with Reading and Writing

Classroom Activities for Helping Students Learn New Subject Matter While Acquiring Literacy Skills.



MAX Teaching in ActionMAX Teaching in Action

Classroom Demonstrations of Reading & Writing Activities that Help Students Learn New Subject Matter while Acquiring Literacy Skills. (Set of 4 DVDs)