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BY Melissa

Where To Find High Interest, Low Level Reading Books (Hi/Lo Readers)

Recently I wrote a blog post called 10 Items Every Special Educator Should Have In Their Classroom. One of the items was Hi-Lo Readers. I heard that many readers were curious as to what Hi-Lo Readers I use with my students.

What Is A Hi-Lo Reader?

First Let me explain what a Hi-Lo Reader is. It can be challenging to find a book that will appeal to 4th grader who reads at a 1st grade level. Often, the books at his reading level appear “babyish” to him. With Hi-Lo books he has the advantage of choosing books that “look” like chapter books and are about interesting topics but are of easy readability.

Where To Find Hi-Lo Books

Here are some websites, books, authors, and publishers that I find helpful for some of my reluctant or struggling readers:

1. New Start Suspense Series by Patricia Birtwistle (Patnor publishing)

New Start Suspense Series by Patricia Birtwistle (Patnor publishing)My students love this series featuring The Swamp, The Old House, What a Day, The Junkyard, The Trip, and At the Mall. They are suspenseful dramas following a group of students who get themselves in potentially dangerous situations.

Both boys and girls seem to really enjoy these stories. The great part for me is that they came with a worksheet per chapter of each book for the students to complete to show their understanding. The worksheets have 5 word study multiple choice questions, yes or no comprehension questions, fill in the blank, character study, and a prediction question.

2. Perfection Learning Corporation

Perfection LearningThis company has a great selection of books for my students written by M.J. Cosson. They are referred to as cover-to-cover books. There are different types of series to engage all different readers and their interests! A few of my favorite:


edHelperEdhelper does require a membership, which includes a fee, but I have found it well worth the reasonable price. There are printable hi-lo readers by grade level or topic which include comprehension questions and activities.

 4. High Noon Books

High Noon BooksI heard these books are fabulous and they are at the top of my teacher’s wish-list! The website allows you to browse books by readability or subject/genre. In addition, Artesian Press offers many resources for special education teachers, speech pathologists, reading specialists, classroom teachers, or teachers of ELL students.

5. H.I.P. Books

H.I.P. Books offerss high interest, low vocabulary books written and edited for reluctant readers. These books are great for the classroom as teacher’s guides are available for every novel.  These action-adventure novels feature 11 and 12 year-old central characters with themes appropriate for grades 4 to 6.

Where do you find your favorite Hi-lo readers? Tell us in the comments below.


Written on December 20, 2012 by:

Melissa Ferry is a special education teacher for Mt. Pleasant Public Schools. She earned her bachelor's degree from Michigan State University with an endorsement in learning disabilities. Melissa is continuing her education at Central Michigan University in pursuit of a Master's Degree. Prior to her career as a teacher Melissa volunteered at Friendship Circle for seven years.
  • Rebecca

    @FCMichigan Reading a-z is another great website with various interest/ level books and build-in lesson plans, worksheets and assessments to use with hi-lo readers.

  • We read Frankie PIckle – he is a good kid, with a different way of looking at things … each book is in my mind a hi/low book with a splash of graphic novel as well so the kids can also look at some pics to get the flow … but not a baby book. I credit Frankie for getting my son to read!

  • Rosanna

    Check out The Saddleback publishing company is one ypu might want on your list! Thanks

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  • Kristin

    Question from a librarian. Would it be helpful for public libraries to label hi-lo books to make them easier to find? Or would it create a stigma for the student?

    • Steve Shea

      Some school librarians I have worked with on developing collections have a “protected” section. In schools, this works because all the patrons are identified by their grade levels, and students reading below level go to the protected section to find books that are not available to younger students reading at that level, which avoids the stigma of a fourth grader finding out his classmate read the cool, new book he’s enjoying back when they were in first grade. An “easy reader” section at the library might stigmatize a little, but if your library has sections to accommodate readers with limited eyesight, this could be an adjacent accommodation. I think “accommodation” isn’t yet a stigmatized word, but I could be wrong. I’m interested to hear what solution you find works best.

      • teacher

        Our librarian codes the hi-lo books differently by placing a BZZ as part of the call number. This way the books blend in with the others but are in a section that students can find.

  • Teacher

    was very happy to find this post – thanks! but some of your links appear to be outdated. might be good to update cause they are kind of hard to find otherwise.

  • rfulleman

    What types of Hi-Lo books have you found appeals the most to the children with whom you work, i.e., mystery, adventure, romance, non-fiction, etc.?

  • Eric

    I just wrote my first Hi-Low book! When I started writing it, I had never even heard of the term “hi-low.” But I was a 2nd grade teacher who saw a need for engaging books for struggling readers. I just got my book, Monstermon Cards, up on Amazon, and I hope teachers and parents consider it. My teenage son illustrated it, and I think it will appeal to any young reader:

  • Stormy

    I wish your links were working. :/

    • fcmichigan

      Stormy, Which links are you referring to?

  • cristy watson

    You have a great list. You may want to add Orca Currents and Orca Sports to your list, too!

  • Graham

    If you have kids into Minecraft – I always have a few in each class every year – then they really love the Steve Surname books and they’re specifically written as hi lo books for reluctant boys – here’s a link if you are a teacher/librarian:

  • DC

    Stone Arch Books has a great set of hi-lo by Jake Maddox.

  • Kristen

    Do any of these books look like chapter books? I just ordered a whole huge set of “chapter” books that might go back to high noon books. They’re smaller than a magazine or Cam Jansen books. Ideally, I’d love to have first and second grade level books that appear to be normal chapter books from the outside. Most lists that I’ve found list books that are lexile level 600+ as great for low readers…

    • Steve Shea

      Hi, Kristen. I actually work for High Noon Books, and I’d like to help you find what’s best for your readers. You can email me directly at [email protected]. I look forward to hearing from you!

  • In my intellectually gifted classroom, I have the opposite problem. I need books on a high level that are appropriate for younger kids. The old classics are good.

  • Amy

    I’ve purchased Red Rhino books from Saddleback publishing. They have other series as well. Low lexiles. Some under 100 but enough text on a page and an appropriate font size,
    about 60 pages. They don’t look baby to me and have older topics. As a teacher librarian I advertise as quick reads and make available to all but suggest more to some than others.


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