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The American HeritageŽ Student Dictionary

Why Owning a Dictionary Is So Important for Middle School Students

A recent study shows that American students' writing skills are in serious trouble. The National Commission on Writing in America's Schools and Colleges, an 18-member panel of educators organized by the College Board, reported that the majority of fourth graders spend less than three hours a week writing — only 15 percent of the time they spend in front of the television. Further, the most recent study suggests that only one in four students in grades 4, 8, or 12 were deemed "proficient" in writing. The editors of the American Heritage® dictionaries have a solution: an all-new, full-color American Heritage® Student Dictionary that will give kids the resource they need to understand the English language and become better writers.

For many years American Heritage® dictionaries have brought to readers the most up-to-date, instructive, and graphically appealing reference works in America. Now we are pleased to offer a completely revised, full-color work for a critical time in a youngster's life: The American Heritage® Student Dictionary. Now that both of the major college-entrance exams, the SAT and the ACT, are slated to include writing tests, it is crucial that parents and teachers provide students with the basic building blocks to better writing: a diverse vocabulary and sensitivity to the nuances of language.

Designed specifically for the needs of students ages 11 to 15 (grades 6 to 9), The American Heritage® Student Dictionary contains many new features that will engage young scholars:

• More than 65,000 boldface entries
• 2,000 informative color photographs and drawings
• Expert usage guidance based on the opinions of our renowned Usage Panel
• Hundreds of useful notes on synonyms, word history, regionalisms, and more

In 2002, the editors of the American Heritage® line developed a list of "100 words every high school graduate should know" that was well received by educators, librarians, and the media. It was featured in USA Today and on National Public Radio. To help parents of middle school kids, the editors have developed a vocabulary list — 65 words, one for each summer vacation weekday — to give students a head start on the coming school year.

The American Heritage line of reference works for young people includes the Picture Dictionary (ages 4-6), the First Dictionary (ages 6-8), the Children's Dictionary (ages 8-11) — all updated for 2003 — and the Student Dictionary (ages 11-15). In addition, we are pleased to offer updated editions of The American Heritage® Children's Thesaurus and The American Heritage® Student Thesaurus — critical companion volumes for vocabulary building. Review copies of these titles are available upon request.

Reference works are a key component of educational success, and the updated format and design of the American Heritage® dictionary line will provide young people with the resources they need to make a smooth transition into the upper grades.

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