This work draws attention to upper elementary learners’ needs by developing and evaluating materials that are contextually relevant and build competencies in multisyllabic (Big Word) decoding and encoding. Contextual relevance largely stems from the design of the study which allows for flexibility and revisions within the project timeline to meet the needs of students in their contexts. Materials are co-developed with teachers and district leaders, families are engaged in the work as it occurs, and feedback is sought from school personnel and students themselves.
Building upon existing research and known effective practices, instructional materials utilize a number of strategies to develop morphological awareness and increased automaticity of Big Word reading and spelling. Given the community-focused, design-based research approach, this project serves the needs of its participants while generating materials that benefit the field at large and increase knowledge about what works and for whom as it relates to reading Big Words.