08/01/17 — Improved Smartphone Support at a CostTo better support smartphones and tablets, wide word tables and automatic information from a mouse-hover were removed from most pages. If you're accustomed to looking at wide word tables (and more words), you will probably want to choose Go to Large-Screen Version at the bottom of a book's Browse Words screen.
Please update your links. Old links (except the main web page) still go to the old screens. The old screens will be preserved a year or two depending upon feedback. To get to the old menu system and functionality, load books.htm (You can know if you're on one of the old pages, because they have a yellowish background while the new pages have either a white or black background.)
The new formatting makes extensive use of a feature not-yet-well-supported by Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer. A page browsed with Chrome or Safari may show a topic heading with a leading triangle that indicates it can be clicked for more detail. Currently, the Microsoft browsers will always show the detail rather than letting the user select which detail to open.
08/01/17 — Changed Quiz Format to Be More Like the SAT® & ACT®Changed quizzes so students must select the correct definition for a word rather than selecting and typing the correct word. This is more like what happens while reading and matches the format of vocabulary questions on the SAT® & ACT®.
Three possible definitions are shown for each word. The computer is not very good at selecting reasonable-looking wrong answers. To make the quizzes more challenging, we are hand-editing definition choices to make wrong choices look more reasonable, but there are tens of thousands to edit. We are editing the most common questions on standard quizzes for the most popular books first. If you need a book or extra credit quiz edited for a class, please tell us and we'll move it to the top of the list.
Teacher requests get priority, so if you're a teacher, please say so. You can write us by clicking on the Give us feedback link at the bottom of most pages. Be sure to tell us which book.
08/01/17 — Changed Algorithm That Selects Top-Ranked Words in Each BookWords are now selected upon these three main criteria:
- How often they are in the book.
- How often they are encountered in general communications relative to the book's reading level.
- How often they appear on review lists for SAT-type tests.
- The algorithm now establishes an emerging vocabulary level for each book.
- For the standard quiz, it tries to pick a handful of words at the book's emerging vocabulary level.
- For the rest of the words, the algorithm tries to select words with which we hope the student is somewhat familiar, but which are not too easy for the book's difficulty level.
08/15/16 — Added More Middle School BooksPlease provide feedback about the middle school books being added:
- What books do you need added?
- Which existing books need more human editing of words and selected excerpts?
- Are there any definitions that are too complex or obscure for middle school?
- Are there any links you suggest for lists of middle school books or that this site should link to for lesson plans, etc.
01/13/16 — Different Words for New SAT®Changed word-ranking to reflect the redesigned SAT. (fewer obscure words) Added new tier two words considered of high interest for the SAT®, ACT®, and other standardized tests. More tier two words will continue to be added and books will continue to be re-edited to highlight them. That editing is being done based on the popularity of the book (on this site) and the importance of the word. Also changed verbiage discussing the SAT®.
The computer gives preference to human-approved words for ranking and quizzing, so books with status prototype may not yet rank the redesigned SAT® words at the top. (Though it may well have the desired word rank and be considered prototype status because other editing is desired.) We are updating the most popular books and highest priority words first.
If you want a book edited, please write by clicking on the Give us feedback link at the bottom of most pages and indicate which book. Teacher requests get priority, so if you're a teacher, please say so.