High Interest-Low Reading Level Books for Reluctant Readers

These books combine readability with interest levels to encourage reading

Digital books
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If you have young children or teens who are reluctant readers, they may be frustrated because they read below grade level and can’t find books they can read that interest them. If that's true, you could try "hi-lo books." 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," or "lower reading level") to encourage reading. Kids reading below grade level are more apt to read a book that's at their reading level as well as their interest level.

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Middle Grades Reading Network High Interest/Low Readability Books

Books for middle-readers and teens
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This reading list from the Middle Grades Reading Network in Evansville, Indiana, includes titles and authors of high interest/low readability books divided into three categories of reading level: grades 3, 4, and 5. Even if your children are older, they might find a topic of interest at a reading level that works for them.

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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 to 6. The annotated list of hi-lo books doesn't provide specific information about either the reading or interest levels for each book other than that they are for students in grades 3 to 6 who read below grade level.

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Multcolib Kids Picks: Fast Fun Reads for 7th and 8th Grades

This list from the Multnomah County Library in Oregon used to be titled Shorter Books for Taller Readers. The briefly annotated list of 18 hi-lo books for kids in grades 7 and 8 includes the reading level for each book.

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Hi-Lo Books for Reluctant Middle School Readers

See cover art and learn about the high interest/low reading level nonfiction books that Bearport Publishing publishes for kids in grades 6 to 8. The emphasis is on people, places, and events that will interest 12- to 14-year-olds.

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HIP Junior Novels for Grades 4 to 6

If you're looking for books that will interest struggling readers in grades 4, 5, or 6 but reading at the grade 2.2 to 2.5 reading level or below, these books might be just what you want. HIP Junior Novels are published by High-Interest Publishing (HIP), which publishes novels for reluctant readers from ages 8 to 18.

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Keystone Books

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

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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 interest levels of 10 to 14 years and reading levels of grades 2.0 to 4.5. If you're looking for short, high-interest novels, check these out.

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Orca Soundings Hi-Lo Teen Fiction

Orca Soundings, teen fiction for struggling readers, are published by Orca Book Publishers. These hi-lo books are designed for an interest level of 12+ years and reading levels 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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HIP Senior Novels for Grades 6 to 10

More than 20 novels are available in this series by High-Interest Publishing. The reading level of these books ranges from grade level 2.4 to 4.0, while the interest level on five of the books goes up to grade 12. If you're looking for gritty contemporary teen fiction, these books may suit your needs.

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Streamlined Shakespeare and More

High Noon Books (Academic Therapy Publications) features high interest/low vocabulary versions of six of Shakespeare's plays, including "Romeo and Juliet," plus a variety of other fiction and nonfiction books.

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High Interest/Low Reading Level Book List

Download a PDF from Schools on Wheels, a tutoring program for homeless children with several annotated recommended reading lists. The readings levels of the books range from grades 2 to 5, and the interest levels go from grades 2 to 12.

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High Interest Books for H.S. Students Reading Below Grade Level

Download this annotated booklist for high school students, which comes from the Multnomah County Library in Oregon. The books include fiction and nonfiction.

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High Interest Adapted Classics

Familiar children’s, young adult, and adult classics have been adapted and targeted to the interest levels of grade 3 to adult and reading levels of grades 3 to 6. Titles include "Little Women," "Heidi," "Moby-Dick," and "War of the Worlds." Just click on the reading level for an array of books.