Megawords

Before fourth grade kids are learning to read—at fourth grade and beyond they read to learn. As most of the words encountered after fourth grade are multisyllabic, and as these are the primary sources of content-specific knowledge, students need to be equipped to decode them. This is the premise behind Megawords, a phonics-based spelling and vocabulary course for grades 4-12. Students learn to spell and decode the meanings of multisyllabic words in order to increase reading proficiency (and win spelling bees). Without a lot of extra elements (just a student workbook and teacher's guide for each level), this is easy to implement and a great way to increase most of your student's language arts skills in one place.

How Do These Work?

For each level there is a consumable student workbook and a teacher's guide. The number of lessons varies in each book, but each section is built around a word list, with several pages of exercises following. Word lists are organized by phonetic rules and grouped according to prefixes and suffixes, syllables, etc. Periodic review lists keep words fresh in kids' minds, while extensive exercises reinforce the information.

Book one focuses primarily on compound words and simple prefixes, with each subsequent level introducing more and more difficult words. Exercises first teach kids to spell, then to decode, then to use words contextually in sentences, so that they aren't just learning how to spell in isolation from the word's meaning and usage. Review of phonics rules is constant so that, by book eight, students will be familiar with them to the point of instant recall, and able to decode words they have not previously encountered.

Every teacher's guide begins with the authors' philosophy of spelling and vocabulary education, with a presentation of some of the research that preceded the writing of Megawords. Next are detailed plans for each exercise page and word list, with plenty of suggestions for presentation of the material (if anything, in some cases, too much). Reproducibles can be found in the back to reinforce concepts like word proficiency, accuracy, etc., as can answers to all exercises on reduced student pages.

These are fairly austere texts—no cute pictures, no games (beyond the occasional crossword puzzle), no little characters teaching fun facts in the sidebar—just black and white text. Yet it is this spareness that makes it appealing to most older students, and which will aid the actual learning of students of all ages. Also, because there are no grade levels per sé, this could make an excellent remedial course for students still struggling with spelling, vocabulary or reading skills.

Our Honest Opinion:

The spelling of multisyllabic words is often overlooked in spelling programs, partly because they usually don't continue into the upper grades. The great thing about Megawords is that, not only do students learn to spell larger words properly, they also learn to understand their meaning and thereby improve reading speed and efficiency. If your student learns better with a minimum of structure this probably isn't the right program for you, but in the realm of spelling and vocabulary a measure of structure is necessary. Megawords may not be the most fun spelling program, but it's certainly one of the best.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

Did you find this review helpful?
16 Items found Print
Megawords 1
by Kristin Johnson & Polly Bayrd
2nd edition from Educators Publishing Service
for 4th-10th grade
in Megawords (Location: C9E-VOC)
$14.20
Megawords 1 - Teacher's Guide and Answer Key
by Kristin Johnson & Polly Bayrd
2nd edition from Educators Publishing Service
for 4th-10th grade
in Megawords (Location: C9E-VOC)
$17.75
Megawords 2
by Kristin Johnson & Polly Bayrd
2nd edition from Educators Publishing Service
for 7th-9th grade
in Megawords (Location: C9E-VOC)
$14.20
Megawords 2 - Teacher's Guide and Answer Key
by Kristin Johnson & Polly Bayrd
2nd edition from Educators Publishing Service
for 5th-6th grade
in Megawords (Location: C9E-VOC)
$17.75
Megawords 3
by Kristin Johnson & Polly Bayrd
2nd edition from Educators Publishing Service
for 6th-7th grade
in Megawords (Location: C9E-VOC)
$13.75
Megawords 3 - Teacher's Guide and Answer Key
by Kristin Johnson & Polly Bayrd
2nd edition from Educators Publishing Service
for 4th-10th grade
in Megawords (Location: C9E-VOC)
$17.20 $10.00 (1 in stock)
Megawords 4
by Kristin Johnson & Polly Bayrd
2nd edition from Educators Publishing Service
for 4th-10th grade
in Megawords (Location: C9E-VOC)
Megawords 4 - Teacher's Guide and Answer Key
by Kristin Johnson & Polly Bayrd
2nd edition from Educators Publishing Service
for 4th-10th grade
in Megawords (Location: C9E-VOC)
$17.20
Megawords 5
by Kristin Johnson & Polly Bayrd
2nd edition from Educators Publishing Service
for 4th-10th grade
in Megawords (Location: C9E-VOC)
$13.75
Megawords 5 - Teacher's Guide and Answer Key
by Kristin Johnson & Polly Bayrd
2nd edition from Educators Publishing Service
for 4th-10th grade
in Megawords (Location: C9E-VOC)
$17.20
Megawords 6
by Kristin Johnson & Polly Bayrd
2nd edition from Educators Publishing Service
for 4th-10th grade
in Megawords (Location: C9E-VOC)
$13.75
Megawords 6 - Teacher's Guide and Answer Key
by Kristin Johnson & Polly Bayrd
2nd edition from Educators Publishing Service
for 4th-10th grade
in Megawords (Location: C9E-VOC)
$17.20
Megawords 7
by Kristin Johnson & Polly Bayrd
2nd edition from Educators Publishing Service
for 4th-10th grade
in Megawords (Location: C9E-VOC)
$13.75
Megawords 7 - Teacher's Guide and Answer Key
by Kristin Johnson & Polly Bayrd
2nd edition from Educators Publishing Service
for 4th-10th grade
in Megawords (Location: C9E-VOC)
$17.20
Megawords 8
by Kristin Johnson & Polly Bayrd
2nd edition from Educators Publishing Service
for 4th-10th grade
in Megawords (Location: C9E-VOC)
$13.75
Megawords 8 - Teacher's Guide and Answer Key
by Kristin Johnson & Polly Bayrd
121st edition from Educators Publishing Service
for 4th-10th grade
in Megawords (Location: C9E-VOC)
$17.20