For this tricky group of students, hi-lo books can be a magic bullet. Hi-lo is an abbreviation for “high interest-low readability.” Books that fall into this category have fast-paced plots. The characters are older, and the topics are much more interesting to readers in upper elementary, middle, and high school. Students will find that the content is not all that different from what their peers are reading, but the stories are told with more basic words and shorter sentences that make them easier to get through. Hi-lo books are available through a variety of publishers, including HIP Books, Stoke Books, and Lorimer .
Tips for Selecting the Right Hi-Lo Book
- The right hi-lo book must fit the reader on not just one but two counts: reading level and interest level. A perfect match will ensure that your high school student is reading a book he will both appreciate and be able to decode on his own. Good retailers will make both of these numbers readily available.
- This is one case where it’s okay to judge a book by its cover. Weak readers don’t want to feel stigmatized or embarrassed because their peers see them carrying around “special” books, so look for books whose covers look just like those of standard, grade-level books.
- Let the student in question make the final choice. It might help to select several possible titles that would all fit the bill, then ask the student to pick one. Buying the book online? No problem. Good retailers’ pages will display the cover image along with a description of the book. Some even allow users to rate the books they've read, so kids can make a fully informed choice.