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The New First Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Your Child Needs to Know Paperback – August 30, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Revised edition (August 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618408533
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618408535
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,169 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

E.D. Hirsch, Jr. is the Linden Kent Memorial Professor of English at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and the author of Cultural Literacy, The First Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, and The Core Knowledge Series. Dr. Hirsch is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has been a senior fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is president of the Core Knowledge Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to educational reform.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Preface to the Third Edition

This new, updated edition reflects important changes that have occurred in the world since 1991, changes in history, science, and the arts that have become part of our common awareness, such as Harry Potter, the Persian Gulf War, El Nino, global warming, DVDs, laptop computers, and the recently named Southern Ocean.
Most of the entries that appeared in the 1989 edition still appear here, illustrating how durable literate culture is and how valid was the idea that gave rise to this book: namely, that we can communicate with one another in our national community only because we continue to share and take for granted the knowledge that we hold in common. To possess this shared knowledge is to be a member of the cultural community — to be an insider. Not to possess it is to be excluded from full communication with other members of the community — to be an outsider. In our democracy we want all children to have the opportunity to be insiders. That is why we have made this book.
That is also why my colleagues and I started the Core Knowledge Foundation (www.coreknowledge.org), whose mission is to bring this knowledge to all children through our schools. The entries in this book overlap with the topics studied in the early grades in Core Knowledge Schools.
The overlap of the topics in this book with the topics studied in good schools is especially important today, when schools, under the influence of the national No Child Left Behind Act, are spending more and more classroom time trying to improve children’s reading abilities. For children to understand writings in textbooks, magazines, books, and newspapers, they must possess the background knowledge that such writings take for granted. Cultural literacy and literacy are intertwined. Knowing the information contained in this book is a big step toward being a good reader and being a full participant in our society.
Good luck!

Copyright © 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.

More About the Author

E. D. Hirsch, Jr. is the founder of the Core Knowledge Foundation and professor emeritus of education and humanities at the University of Virginia. He is the author of several acclaimed books on education issues including the best-seller Cultural Literacy. With his subsequent books The Schools We Need and Why We Don't Have Them, The Knowledge Deficit, and The Making of Americans, Dr. Hirsch solidified his reputation as one of the most influential education reformers of our time.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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I keep one in my office, one by my computer, one on my coffee table.
traveler joan
My friends all think I know EVERYTHING and really its just cause I read this book when I was younger (and still occasionally again to this day).
Queen C
Both are filled with interesting and relevant information that make for a broad knowledge base in many areas of cultural literacy.
Tina

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By JP on May 11, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This dictionary is essential for everyone, not just children. This should be in every household and in every classroom, it has the basics organized in sections such as language arts, math, science,and visual and performing arts. Every child should be taught this information before graduating from 8th grade and every adult with a college education really should know all these facts, ideas, theories, and movements.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By M. Grate on January 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a valuable item for all New Citizens as well as for any adult who's had a "whole word" education. I give a copy to any new colleagues from a non-English speaking country.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Queen C on February 23, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My parent's gave me a copy of this book when I was 12 and at the time I just thought it was a lame book... then I actually started reading it. It helped me out so much in high school and college these bits of knowledge in every catagory you could think of. History, art, lit, math, science, even religion and world views. It's kinda like a cliff notes of all the important things you should know to be a well rounded adult.

Plus it readies your mind to be able to win any type of trivia game your friends want to throw at you. My friends all think I know EVERYTHING and really its just cause I read this book when I was younger (and still occasionally again to this day). I bought this book as a gift for my 12 year old niece. I hope she likes it. I also wished I had notice this version is a paperback as a hardback one would've lasted better.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 24, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was surprised to discover how many common proverbs and phrases

are confounding to high school freshman. This book has helped me to better understand the cultural awareness that these

students have not yet acquired. It has also been a useful

tool for working to bridge that gap.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Nina M. Phillips on April 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
I bought this for my nine year old granddaughter. Since I have the adult version and really like it, I thought she may enjoy a book that you don't have to read cover to cover or chapter by chapter. She enjoyed this book so much that it was the book she chose to take on vacation with her. There is so much to learn on each page.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By New Englander on February 26, 2010
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This book is exactly what it claims to be: a DICTIONARY. It is a huge, giant list of terms and phrases, organized by subject area. The explanations are extremely brief. But, as with all dictionaries, it is absolutely no fun to read. Nobody would ever snuggle up with this book and a hot cup of tea...ever.

Now I hate to penalize a book for being exactly what it set out to be, so I harbor some guilt over my 3-star rating. It's a 5-star dictionary. But the product description didn't really stress the "dictionary" part, so I was actually expecting this to somehow be an all-in-one, abridged version of the Core Knowledge curriculum books. It is not.

If you want a reference book that you can set on your shelf for the times when you'd like to look up an unfamiliar term or phrase, then you should buy this book. And this book would be especially useful, in this way, for recent immigrants and American high-school or middle-school students.

On the other hand, if you want a book you can casually read through to learn something new or interesting...this is not appropriate for that. Hirsch's Core Knowledge curriculum books for PreK-6 are great, and they're fun to read (or at least fun enough). So if you're a parent who is buying something to read with kids, buy those instead. If you're an American adult looking to round out your knowledge, you might try The Intellectual Devotional by Kidder and Oppenheim.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. C. Westerfield on June 8, 2012
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I bough this to use with my child who is in grade school. It has a little bit about everything in the book and is broken down into different topics. It made our look-up of Athena a cinch. I would say a must have for elementary education.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Maria Ventura on November 27, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The product described it as used, but it arrived almost completely brand new. Shipped within a week, and was bought as used but got like new. Wonderful, and really happy with the purchase.
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