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Hi-Lo Books for Reluctant Readers

15 Reading Lists of High Interest - Lower Reading Level Books

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If you have kids or teens who are reluctant readers because they read below grade level and can’t find books they can read that interest them, try some of these hi-lo books. The Hi-Lo reading lists focus on books at the reader's interest level (“Hi” stands for “high interest”) but written at a lower reading level (“Lo” stands for “low readability,” "low vocabulary," "lower reading level") to encourage reading. Kids and teens reading below grade level are more apt to want to read a book if it is not only at their reading level but also at their interest level.

Be sure to keep scrolling down to see all 15 of the lists.

1. Middle Grades Reading Network High Interest/Low Readability Books

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This reading list from the Middle Grades Reading Network in Evansville, Indiana includes a list of titles and authors of high interest/low readability books divided into three categories of reading level: grade 3, 4 and 5.

2. Fiction for Struggling Readers

The books on this annotated booklist include Hi-Lo books at reading levels for grades 1-5, with interest levels ranging from grades 3 to 10. This reading list for struggling readers comes from the Okanagan Regional Library in British Columbia, Canada.

3. Hi-Lo Books for for Reluctant Readers in the Upper Elementary Grades

The 2009 ALSC School-Age Programs and Services Committee recommends these Hi-Lo books for reluctant readers in grades 3-6. The annotated list of hi-lo books does not provide specific information about either the reading or the interest levels for each book other than that they are for student sin grades 3-6.

4. Shorter Books for Taller Readers Grades 4-5

This briefly annotated list of high interest–low reading level books is from the Multnomah County Library in Oregon. It includes books with reading levels that range from RL 1.5 to RL 3.5.

5. Shorter Books for Taller Readers Grades 5-8

This briefly annotated list of high interest–low reading level books is divided into two categories: Readers in Grades 5 and 6: Reading Levels 2–4 and Readers in Grades 7–8: Reading Levels 3–4. Each individual description includes the book’s specific reading level. This reading list comes from the Multnomah County Library in Oregon.

6. Hi/Lo Books for Middle School Students

These three long unannotated booklists come from The Middle Grades Reading Network, which is funded by the Lily Endowment Inc. and located at the University of Evansville in Indiana. The Network “is dedicated to the promotion of voluntary reading of books, newspapers, and other print materials among young adolescents.” The booklists of Hi/Lo books are for middle school students who read at the third, fourth or fifth grade level.

7. HIP Junior Novels for Grades 4 to 6

If you are looking for books that will interest your struggling reader who is in grade 4, 5, or 6 but reads at the grade 2.2-2.5 or below reading level, these books may be just what you want. HIP Junior Novels are published by High Interest Publishing (HIP), a company that publishes novels for reluctant readers from ages 8 to 18.

8. Keystone Books

Keystone Books from Capstone Press are for the students with reading levels of grades 2-3 and interest levels of grades 5-9. They include science fiction, sports, horror, suspense, and humor. Titles include Alien Abduction, Killer Sharks, and Skateboard Power. The more than 20 books are all Accelerated Reader selections.

9. Orca Currents – Hi/Lo Middle School Fiction

Orca Currents, middle school fiction for reluctant readers, is published by Orca Book Publishers. These Hi/Lo books are designed for an interest level of 10-14 years and a reading level of grades 2.0 to 4.5. If you are looking for short, high-interest novels, check these out.

10. Orca Soundings – Hi/Lo Teen Fiction

Orca Soundings, teen fiction for struggling readers, is published by Orca Book Publishers. These Hi/Lo books are designed for an interest level of 12+ years and a reading level of grades 2.0 to 4.5. You’ll find more than 30 titles in this series of contemporary stories, including some Accelerated Reader selections.

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