Megawords Review

Reading Apps

With its straightforward, systematic and multisensory lessons, Megawords can be a very effective way for students to learn to handle the more complex words they come across in their reading and studies. 

If you have a student in grades 4 and up who might be struggling with their reading, selling and/or comprehension of multisyllabic words, Megawords is an affordable and easy to use language arts program that just might be what you’ve been looking for.

What We Like

Compact, not a lot for parents to buy or keep track of
Explicit and systematic language arts instruction
Integrates spelling, reading and vocabulary work
Offers students lots of practice and review
Many different types of activities in each lesson, can help prevent boredom
Open and go curriculum
Skill-based program structure lets it be used by a wide range of ages without embarrassment
Multisensory lessons can suit many different learning types

But watch out for

Lessons can be quite long
Not a lot of comprehensive review sessions or assessments

What is Megawords?

Megawords is a multisensory and phonics-based reading, spelling and vocabulary program designed to help students with multisyllabic, or “mega,” words.

To do so, the program uses an explicit, step-by-step and systematic approach and expansive word lists to teach students the skills they need to successfully analyze, decode and encode any multisyllable words they come across.

What Grades Or Ages is Megawords Intended For?

Ostensibly, Megawords is intended for students in grades 4 and up, or about the time that multisyllabic words start becoming more prevalent in student readings and about the same time students start needing to read to get information for their studies (“read to learn,” as the program might say).

That said, Megawords is a skill-based program.

While there are 8 books in the series, these are all focused on specific sets of phonic, spelling and morphemic skills and have no real relation to any particular grade or age range.

BookSkill Set
Megawords 1Syllable Types and Syllabication Rules
Megawords 2Common Prefixes and Suffixes
Megawords 3Schwa Sound
Megawords 4Advanced Suffixes
Megawords 5Vowel Variations
Megawords 6Consonant Variations
Megawords 7Unaccented Vowels and Advanced V/V
Megawords 8Assimilated Prefixes

As a result of this skills-focus, the series can more easily be used by students learning outside of a normal grade progression, such as (for example) precocious readers below grade 4 who may be coming across more complex words for the first time or by middle and high school students who struggle with reading. 

In fact, as the series makes no obvious reference to grades on the cover or in its teaching materials, Megawords can be a lot easier for older, struggling students to use since they won’t be as embarrassed by using books that are obviously aimed at younger students. 

One downside of a skills-based curriculum, particularly one that doesn’t readily link to age or grade, is that it can be a little tricky for parents switching into the program to know where to start. 

To help, Megawords does offer a placement test book that parents can use, known as the Assessment of Decoding and Encoding Skills. 

This assessment book is divided into 8 tests (one for each level of Megawords), each of which is made up of several word lists focusing on the different subtopics and skills that the book is centered on. 

For example, the placement test for Megawords 5 (which covers Vowel Variations) has word lists that include vowel combinations with o, with a, with e, with y and so on.

Students read the words on the list and do dictation style spelling exercises, and parents assess their responses.

The Assessment of Decoding and Encoding Skills tests are pretty comprehensive and thorough and many of the words are somewhat infrequently used in kids books, so it’s less likely that students will be able to sight read them. 

As a result, it can provide a pretty accurate read of a student’s actual skill level and knowledge when it comes to their literacy, which can be pretty helpful for homeschooling parents.

On the downside, the tests do require some familiarity with phonics and phonics instruction on the part of parents to make a full assessment, and the book isn’t free (costing about $45 or so), so it can add to the overall cost of the program.

Alternatively, those on a strict budget (and who have time to spare) can also browse online and examine each book’s Table of Contents and sample lessons in order to make a rough judgment call on whether or not a given level is a good place to start.

What Is Required To Teach Megawords?

Megawords is a fairly compact curriculum that doesn’t require a lot of materials for parents to buy or keep track of.

Each level in the series only requires two components, a Student Book and a Teacher’s Guide.

Student Books

The Student Books are where students will spend most of their time during their lessons.

These are essentially black and white consumable workbooks that contain word lists and exercises that students will work on during each lesson, some summary note pages for key concepts and some checklists and graphs that students (or more often, their parents) can use to plot the progression of the skill development.

The books themselves aren’t really illustrated, being more focused on the written activities and exercises that students engage in. 

While this does mean they’re not the most exciting to look at for long periods of time, it does mean that they are more usable by students across a wider age range, as there aren’t any cartoons or drawings that older students might consider childish.

Beyond the activities and exercises, the student books do contain some basic instructions and concept reviews at the beginning of each worksheet or section, but it really isn’t enough for most students to learn on their own.

example of some instruction and review in megawords student book

Megawords is largely a teacher/parent-led program and the student books are designed to work in tandem with the Teacher’s Guides, which is where most of the lesson instruction is provided. 

Teacher’s Guides

The Megawords Teacher’s Guides contain everything a parent needs to teach a Megawords level. 

Each Guide contains the word lists for each lesson, lesson objectives and step-by-step instructions for introducing and teaching relevant words, word parts, patterns, rules and more that students will need to decode multisyllable words.

The Teacher’s Guides also contain summary pages for key concepts, background information on the methodology of the program, checklists and graphs to keep track of skill accuracy and proficiency, readings for students, and, importantly, answer keys that can make correcting student work a lot easier and less time consuming.

The Teacher’s Guides are scripted and well-organized, guiding parents through lessons pretty easily, and offer a variety of useful teaching and differentiation tips along the way that can provide parents with struggling students with ideas for extra or more effective instruction, and that generally help fit the learning and activities to a students’ needs.

screenshot of megawords teacher's guide lesson showing scripting and differentiation tips

How Megawords Approaches Learning

Mastery Learning

Megawords takes a mastery approach to teaching, diving into each concept deeply and giving students the opportunity and time to work their way through each skill set and moving on only when the student demonstrates proficiency through end-of-lesson skill checks. 

This method of learning stands in contrast to spiral-based learning programs, which tend to introduce a concept, work with it for a time, move onto another concept and revisit the first later on in greater depth later.

As a mastery program, Megawords can really let students focus on getting the hang of the skills they’ll need for reading, understanding and spelling complex, multisyllable words (in fact each book is themed around certain, specific skills students will learn), and doesn’t bombard kids with different concepts in a short period of time, a definite plus for students who struggle with reading.

On the downside, as a mastery program, once a skill or word part is completed and a student is considered proficient, it really won’t be reviewed or touched on again at later levels. 

There isn’t much in the way of cumulative assessment across the program and so, like many other mastery programs out there, students who tend to forget things or are prone to developing knowledge or skill gaps over time might need to add their own periodic review and revision component to the program.

Explicit and Sequential Instruction

Megawords explicitly teaches students the various decoding and encoding skills, as well as key spelling and phonic rules, they’ll need when reading, writing or trying to understand new multisyllabic words. 

In other words, in addition to providing  students with various word lists to work with, the lessons directly teach students specific letter-sound relationships, accent rules ,spelling rules, spelling patterns, mechanics, Latin/Greek Roots and much more. 

screenshot example of explicit instruction in megwords

This explicit teaching style can be very effective. 

By directly teaching students the reading/spelling rules and skills they’ll need to break apart and form multisyllable words, students are given specific tools and methods they can fall back on, particularly when faced with unfamiliar and complex texts.

example of explicit instruction in megawords

Megawords also takes a sequential approach to dealing with multisyllabic words that moves from their smallest phonetic structure to the largest. 

Lessons follow a common structure that starts with getting students comfortable with single syllable words and word parts before progressing to combining words and word parts, dealing with whole words and, finally, putting these words into context.

This sequential approach, where students start off with the bite sized word parts and slowly move towards complexity, can be particularly beneficial to students who struggle with reading or who have difficulties with information processing, as it can make the process of reading, spelling and defining long and complex words seem a little more logical and a lot less intimidating.  

Reading, Spelling and Vocabulary Learning

Megawords is a program that helps students hone their reading, spelling and understanding of multisyllable words by weaving specific instruction and practice for each of these language arts components into each lesson.

With reading, as students move through their lessons, they’ll learn important phonemic rules and patterns, how to pronounce words and word parts, identify and blend parts, and divide words up into component syllables, before finally working with the words in context by reading (and explaining their use in) complete sentences. 

Similarly, in spelling, students will learn key spelling rules, spell from hearing with single syllables, learn to isolate and spell combined words and word parts and, finally, compose complete sentences.  

When it comes to vocabulary, students learn key morphemic analysis skills, such as identifying and understanding prefixes, suffixes and root words, that they’ll use to construct and deconstruct words and sentences, and derive meaning from the words they encounter. 

In the student workbook, meanwhile, each lesson contains a variety of exercises based on the word list to practice these new skills, including:

  • Read aloud exercises (reading)
  • Dictation exercises (spelling)
  • Identifying root words and word parts (vocabulary)
  • Passages (reading)
  • Comprehension questions (vocabulary)
  • Sentence composition using  a word bank (vocabulary)
  • Proofreading and correction (spelling)
  • And more

Because Megawords touches on several different language arts components, it can be quite a useful and efficient homeschooling program, providing students with instruction and practice in a number of areas without parents needing to buy a bunch of different curricula and workbooks.

On the other hand, it does mean that lessons can get quite long as they need to include a number of different exercises, not just to cover each word but to provide enough practice for each language arts component (reading, spelling, vocabulary)l, as well.

A Multisensory Program

Megawords is a multisensory language arts program. 

At any given time during instruction and practice, students may have to read and pronounce words and word parts, listen to dictation, write responses and underline, circle or draw a square around various word parts.

picture of megawords multisensory instruction in a lesson

As a result, they tend to get a pretty good visual, auditory, and orthographic workout during lessons. 

Not only does a multisensory approach have a number of recognized benefits for learning, such as improving and strengthening memory retention by engaging multiple pathways in the brain, but it also makes Megawords far more suitable to students with different learning preferences and styles. 

Parents should be aware, however, that most of the exercises in Megawords are workbook-based, so there isn’t quite as much in the way of tactile learning with this program as there can be with others. 

For example, Megawords doesn’t make use of phonogram tiles or other hands-on reading or spelling tools that some programs, such as Logic of English and All About Reading or All About Spelling, integrate into their teaching.

How Megawords Works

Megawords consists of 8 books, each of which is centered around a particular set of skills, such as common prefixes and suffixes (Megawords 2), the schwa sound (Megawords 3), advanced suffixes (Megawords 4) or vowel variation (Megawords 5). 

As with many spelling and vocabulary programs out there, each book’s learning is built around several word lists that parents and students will work through. 

Each book in the series has about 4-6 different word lists (with the notable exception of Megawords 1, which has 8), and each word list groups its words around specific phonemic or morphemic structures. 

screenshot of megawords word list divided up by word endings

In other words, rather than arranging word lists by common usage or by grade-leveled reading skill, a Megawords book might have word lists build around words with ch/ph/qu sounds, soft c’s, soft g’s, unaccented letters, silent e’s, or by common prefixes, suffixes, -al, -ite, or -ed endings and so on.

Working with its word lists, Megaword builds its lessons out of six steps.

Step 1: One-Syllable Words and Word Parts

Each lesson starts work with the most basic component of a multisyllabic word, the single syllable. 

example of step 1 in megawords lesson

Taking words from the word list, parents offer instruction, show students single syllable examples of words and word parts, and have students read them in order to get them comfortable with each concept in its most simple form before doing some related activities in their workbook. 

Step 2: Combined Word Parts

After a student is more comfortable with a concept in its single syllable form, they can begin to work on combining the words and word parts into whole words. 

At this stage, students are often provided with more explicit spelling/phonetic rules and patterns, such as accent patterns, vowel and consonant rules, which are introduced to help students with their accuracy. 

It is at this stage of the lesson that the Teacher’s Guide typically splits reading and spelling into their own sub-lessons, giving them their own unique objectives and directing students to particular workbook pages for practice.

Step 3: Work With The Whole Word

In this step, students learn to apply what they’ve learned so far to spell and read their word lists as multisyllable whole words, whether it is by dividing them into component syllables or spelling their sounds in sequence. 

example of step three in megawords lesson

To help out, parents provide students with useful tips, rules and strategies they can use, for example by helping them practice identifying schwa-sounds, accent patterns, components of compound words, affixes and more by circling, dividing and/or sorting words. 

Step 4: Words In Context

Finally, students begin to work on putting their words into context by reading and spelling words in sentences, reading passages and working on comprehension and vocabulary skills. 

screenshot of step 4 in megawords

At this stage, students begin to work more with definitions and start doing more typical and direct  vocabulary work, such as by inserting missing words into sentences, deriving words from their definitions, answering questions based on passages and more. 

Steps 5+6: Monitoring Progress in Reading, Spelling and Comprehension

The final two steps of a lesson are designed to check a student’s accuracy and proficiency with the word list. 

In the reading accuracy portion, students read words aloud with parents listening carefully for errors and omissions, while in the spelling accuracy portion students complete a fairly standard dictation exercise. 

In the reading proficiency step (Step 6), students are challenged to read as many words as they can in a 60 second period without making more than four mistakes, being assessed on both accuracy and speed.

While perhaps a little stressful for some students, Steps 5 and 6 are largely in keeping with Megawords mastery approach as students aren’t really supposed to move to the next lesson unless they can achieve a 90% score on these skill tests. 

Finally, after every couple lessons or so, Megawords offers a review lesson that goes over  the words from the previous lessons, reinforcing their general concepts and giving students more practice with them.

Our Thoughts on Megawords Lessons

Overall, we feel that Megawords lesson design is pretty well thought out. 

The six step sequential process can, in our opinion, make it easier for students to deal with complex, multisyllable words by introducing them at their smallest, easiest to digest components and getting students used to relevant phonetic/morphemic rules and patterns before letting them tackle the words at their most complex (in situ). 

We also like the fact that there are a good variety of activity types in each lesson that touch on different reading, spelling and comprehension skills. 

With different activities to try out, many of which use different senses, students are less likely to get bored and go on autopilot while working.

We found the lessons themselves to be very thorough, covering each word on the list at least once (usually more), and we appreciated the fact that the program’s mastery approach makes sure that students are progressing properly through their skill checks. 

Finally, although the program is teacher/parent-led and does require some intensive parental involvement at times, we do feel that some balance is struck by the fact that many of the Student Book activities can be done independently by students once they get the hang of a general concept, which does reduce the overall burden on parents to some degree. 

On the downside, we feel that Megawords lessons can be a bit long for some students. 

With each lesson involving multiple steps, each of which can have multiple workbook pages for students to work through, it can take well over a week to go through a word list, depending on student skill and ability.

Spending so long on a single word list can be frustrating to some students, particularly if they are used to 3 or 4 day lesson schedules. 

How Easy is Megawords to Teach?

All in all, we feel that Megawords is a pretty straightforward and easy to teach program. 

The Teacher’s Guides are pretty well-scripted and guide parents through teaching important phonemic, spelling and morphemic patterns and rules, while providing ample tips and useful teaching guidance along the way. 

These Guides are well laid out, providing parents with the exact workbook pages they’ll need for each lesson step, as well as offering activity-level help and advice when needed. 

Overall, we feel that most parents should be able to use Megawords without much prep work or even a deep and current nowledge of phonics instruction and best practices. 

As a result, we feel the program can be a good option for new homeschooling parents and those who feel that their own language arts skills are a bit rusty.

Similarly, the program doesn’t really include any unusual methods or unfamiliar strategies in its approach to teaching explicit phonics and spelling rules, which might come as good news for many experienced homeschooling families, as well. 

One thing homeschooling parents should be aware of is that many of the materials are written for a classroom setting, with references to teachers and multiple students. 

While perhaps not every homeschooler’s cup of tea to read, by and large we don’t feel that it has much of an effect on the instruction either way and parents should easily be able to work around it. 

Pros and Cons



With each level in the program typically costing under $50 in total (student book and teacher’s guide) Megawords is a pretty affordable and cost effective way to help students with their literacy skills and should be able to fit most homeschool budgets. 

Integrated language arts

Megawords isn’t just a reading program designed to help students deal with more complex, multisyllabic words. It also teaches them key spelling, comprehension and vocabulary skills, making it a well-rounded and integrated program that can save parents from having to buy several other curricula. 

Lots of varied activities

Every Megawords lesson includes many different types of exercises and activities to help students practice their skills. From fill in the blanks, to syllable rearrangements, to passage reading, dictation, dictionary work and even proofreading exercises, there is a lot to keep students from getting bored and tuning out during their work.

Explicit and systematic instruction

Megawords directly and explicitly teaches key phonics, spelling and morphological rules, conventions and patterns to students in a clear, logical and step-by-step manner. 

Not only is this approach widely considered to be highly effective in terms of general language instruction, it also gives students clear and memorable rules to fall back on that can make the process of reading complex passages seem more manageable and less intimidating. 

Lots of practice and frequent review

Each lesson in Megawords contains lots of workbook activities to help give students the practice they need to develop strong skill fluency in reading, spelling and deciphering multisyllabic words.

Further, the program provides plenty of opportunity for students to go over concepts, with dedicated review sessions every couple lessons or so. 

Open and go

With its clearly outlined and scripted lesson plans, Megawords doesn’t typically require parents to spend a lot of time preparing for lessons. 

Add to the fact that it uses a fairly familiar and proven phonics-based approach and parents should be able to more or less pick up a Megawords set and start teaching.

Skill-based structure

Although nominally for students in grades 4 and up, Megawords is a skills-based program whose series structure has no real relation to grade or age level. 

As a result, it can be used easily and without embarrassment by students of practically any age who need it.


Megawords lessons and practice sessions can be highly multisensory, with students reading, writing, listening, drawing and even diagramming their way through multisyllabic word lists, making the program very useful for students with different learning preferences. 


Lessons can be long for some students

With each word list containing numerous words, six steps and often many worksheets, lessons in Megawords can take some time to get through and, depending on their skill and ability level, students might work on a single list for a couple weeks or more, which can be frustrating. 

Not a lot of comprehensive review

Although there are periodic review sessions every couple of lessons covering those word lists and skills, there isn’t a lot of comprehensive review or testing in Megawords. 

Once students move on from a skillset and are considered proficient, it won’t often be reviewed or tested on in any real depth later on, which can lead some students to lose their edge with time 

Who is Megawords Ideal For?

Students who are struggling with reading, spelling and understanding multisyllable words 

Some students may struggle when it comes to texts that contain more multisyllable words, even if they start off as fluent readers at first. 

With a specific emphasis on helping students learn rules, patterns and strategies for dealing with these words, Megawords can help these students feel more comfortable dealing with (and less intimidated by) the more complex texts they’ll encouter in their studies. 

Students who learn best through careful, explicit language instruction

Some students do fine as discovery learners and are capable of becoming proficient in reading and spelling without much focused instruction. 

Other students, however, feel more comfortable or simply do better when given specific and systematic instruction in language, becoming more adept at reading, spelling and vocabulary when taught clear and specific rules and strategies to follow. 

 Students who do best with lots of practice

Megawords lessons provide students with lots of different kinds of activities that will give them a good deal of practice with the concepts they are learning. 

As a result, it can be a great program for students who best absorb material through practice and revision. 

Students who like to work on one concept at a time until completion

Megawords is a mastery-based program whose lessons (and books) tend to center on particular concepts and skill sets and allow students to focus deeply on one thing at a time, learning it to completion and only moving on when they can demonstrate strong proficiency.

Students who like a little variety in their practice activities

Megawords lessons not only contain a good number of practice problems but also a wide variety of them, which can prevent students from getting too bored.

At any given time, and during any given lesson, students might be asked to read things aloud, fill in the blanks, write out words, rearrange words, read passages, derive words, proofread sentences and much, much more. 

Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic learners

During their lessons and during practice, students are given an opportunity to work with their wordlists visually (reading, watching demonstrations), audibly (dictation exercises, listening to pronunciation), and kinesthetically (writing, diagramming or drawing things out). 

It is therefore a multisensory program that can be a good option for students who learn best in these ways. 

Homeschools on a strict budget

Finally, Megawords is an affordable language arts program that, with entire levels usually costing under $50 or so, can fit most homeschool budgets.

Who Is It Not Ideal For?

Students who love to learn with manipulatives and through hands-on activities

Although it is multisensory and does involve writing activities, Megawords doesn’t offer the same kind of physical learning options that some other programs do, such as by using word tiles, games or other manipulatives. 

As a result, it may not be the best option for very tactile learners. 

Homeschools that hate working with word lists

Some homeschooling families dislike working with word lists when it comes to spelling or vocabulary work, preferring to work with classical literature, passages or other methods. 

Megawords books and lessons are centered around extensive word lists and so may not be the best option for such families. 

Students who like their lessons short and rapid-paced

With each lesson consisting of fairly impressive word lists, six steps, multiple worksheets and reading and spelling skill checks, Megawords lessons can take some time for students to work through.

Students who prefer to move through word lists at a more speedy pace may find working on a single concept for well over a week somewhat frustrating.  


Note: Prices correct as of writing. All prices in USD.

By and large, Megawords is a pretty compact curriculum that doesn’t have a lot of components to it. 

As we mentioned previously, for each level parents really only have to buy a Teacher’s Guide and a Student Book, as well as the assessment manual if they really want to accurately place their student. 

These cost:

  • Student Book (per level) $16.29
  • Teacher’s Guide (per level): $22.59
  • Assessment Book (one time): $45.39

As always, parents should check for the program’s latest prices as well as for any discounts and offers that may apply.



Is It Worth The Price?

Overall, Megawords is both an affordable program and one that can offer a lot of value for homeschooling families.

Through its lessons and exercises, it explicitly teaches students a variety of useful skills and strategies that they can fall back on and use when approaching multisyllabic words. 

It does so through clearly laid-out, systematic lessons that carefully guide students from single syllable components to whole words and their use in context, a process that can make  longer, complex words seem manageable, especially for students who otherwise struggle with reading. 

It is also an integrated program, providing direct instruction and a great deal of practice in reading, spelling and vocabulary skills and reducing the need for parents to buy additional curricula.

Finally, Megawords lessons are fairly multisensory. 

Instruction and practice frequently make use of visual, auditory and kinesthetic skills (in the form of writing and diagramming), which can make the program very suitable and effective for students with different learning styles and preferences. 

Bottom Line

With its straightforward, systematic and multisensory lessons, Megawords can be a very effective way for students to learn to handle the more complex words they come across in their reading and studies. 

If you have a student in grades 4 and up who might be struggling with their reading, selling and/or comprehension of multisyllabic words, Megawords is an affordable and easy to use language arts program that just might be what you’ve been looking for.

Picture of our author and editor Anne Miller

About the Author

Anne Miller is the editor of The Smarter Learning Guide and is a passionate advocate for education and educational technology. A mom of two, she majored in English Language and Literature and worked as a substitute teacher and tutor for several years. When not writing she continues to root for the Yankees and the Giants.