Megawords uses multiple approaches to help students learn, understand, and spell mega (large or multi-syllabic) words. The series is sequential, with words building in complexity on both phonic and structural elements. Its goal is "to teach students word attack strategies that they can apply to sounding out any unfamiliar word." This is accomplished by having them start with the basic building block of language, the syllable. These are then combined into whole words, used in context, and practiced in a variety of multi-sensory activities. Between 431-781 words are learned in each book, grouped by phonetic structure. Worksheets explain and practice the rules or patterns found in the word list. Varied exercises focus on reading, spelling, and vocabulary. The word lists by construct can be fairly extensive, so many worksheets follow in order to use each word at least once in an exercise. Second edition changes are minimal in terms of actual content. Word lists are mostly identical, although I noted a few changes that seem to be related to word familiarity and usage (i.e. cannibal not in the new list; testimony added). Activities are mostly the same, though there are shifts in order and some changes in wording (i.e. Mr. Collier is now Mr. Spero; a radio is now a "machine that could do all homework"). There is enough movement in activity placement that using an old answer key with a new edition is likely to be frustrating. A review lesson has been added after the first three lessons in each book. A few types of exercises have been eliminated (unscramble and crosswords). Other changes include fonts (slightly larger), more writing space, and graphics/shading. The worktexts are still black and white. The Teacher Guide/Answer Keys (now in lay-flat spiral binding) have been expanded and contain more specific information about the approach, a six-step teaching strategy, "soft scripted" lesson-by-lesson plans and a complete, reduced page answer key as well as reproducible assessment and recording forms along with the reproducible versions of the reference material from the Student Book.
A spiral-bound Assessment Book is now also available, intended for all levels of Megawords. It provides a full diagnostic measure of the decoding and encoding skills taught at each level, and the test format is great for appropriate placement in the series, accurate diagnosis of skills in certain areas, easy and complete error analysis, pre- and post-test comparisons for documentation of progress, accountability of instructional practices, and development of individual goals and objectives. The Assessment Book is reproducible, so it can be used repeatedly as students work through the series.