The American Heritage Student Dictionary

The Best Student Dictionary You Can Buy

What makes a good student dictionary? Like all dictionaries, it should be up-to-date in terms of the contents. A student dictionary should be written and designed for the audience it serves - not too simplistic and not overly complicated. The American Heritage Student Dictionary meets these criteria and more and is the best student dictionary around. However, as much as Webster's has a great reputation for dictionaries, Webster's New World Student's Dictionary is out of date; there really needs to be a new edition published soon that incorporates all of the words that have been added to our vocabularies due to changing technology and other innovations.

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The American Heritage Student Dictionary

The American Heritage Student Dictionary - Book Cover
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

The American Heritage Student Dictionary wins for the best dictionary for ages 11 to 16 (grades 6 to 10) for a number of reasons. In the first place, its design and colorful extras make it a book that will appeal to students and its detailed introduction to the dictionary will help ensure students know how to get the most out of the dictionary.

The four introductory sections cover the following: Elements of the Dictionary, Guide to Using the Dictionary; Capitalization, Punctuation, and Style Guide; and Pronunciation. Dividing the information into sections and providing lots of examples makes it easier for students to absorb.

In addition to the more than 65,000 entry words, The American Heritage Student Dictionary includes more than 2,000 color photographs and drawings that serve as spot illustrations for specific words. There are also six major charts and tables: Development of the Alphabet, Geologic Time, Measurement, Periodic Table of the Elements, The Solar System and Taxonomy.

The dictionary includes several types of boxed notes in the margins of many of the pages that are particularly intriguing. They include usage notes, word history information, and Writers Choose Their Words.

The point of the last is to highlight an author's skill in utilizing a particular word by sharing a quotation from the author with that word highlighted. These include authors and books that will be familiar to many children. Among them are Mary Norton (The Borrowers), J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter), Lloyd Alexander (), Norton Juster (), E.B. White, C.S. Lewis and Walter Dean Myers.

Even if a student picks up the dictionary to look for a specific word, all of the additional information available in both text and images is sure to attract the readers' attention and interest in finding out more than they had originally planned. The American Heritage Student Dictionary an excellent choice for middle school students, as well as high school freshman and sophomores.

(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, updated and expanded for 2016, 2013. ISBN: 9780544336087)

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Webster's New World Student's Dictionary

Webster's New World Student's Dictionary features black and white illustrations with spot color for emphasis. The pages are sturdy and the type easy to read. There are 200+ sections on word history, almost 700 synonym studies, and more than 400 biographical entries among the nearly 50,000 entries. This dictionary is written for ages 10 to 14 (grades 5 to 9).

However, if you are looking for a dictionary that includes the latest additions from technology and other fields and/or a dictionary that is beautifully designed, colorful and visually appealing, Webster's New World Student's Dictionary this is not the dictionary you need. Hopefully, it won't be too long before a new edition is published.

(Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, 1996. ISBN: 9780028613192)

Remember

When you are looking for a dictionary, always make a point to check the copyright date. If the dictionary was published more than five years ago, then it is probably missing some important new, or newly defined, words.