by Amber Hodgson, M.A., CCC-SLP
Does your child dislike the very idea of having to read a book? Is it hard for your
child to comprehend books that are at his/ her grade level? If so, your child might
benefit from the use of High Interest/Low Readability books or Hi-Lo books. Other
names for these types of books are High Interest/Lower Reading Level books or High
Interest/Low Vocabulary books. “Hi-Lo” books are unique because they are written
at a lower reading level, but they keep in mind the interests of an older-aged child,
all of which encourage reading. Some popular topics for Hi-Lo books include: sports,
adventure, science fiction, historical fiction, mystery, and classic literature.
Hi-Lo books are beneficial for children who struggle with reading because the books
include content that a child of a specific age can relate to, while the information
is written at a lower grade level. In addition to a lower vocabulary level, Hi-Lo
books also feature shorter sentences containing simpler structures and fewer clauses,
shorter chapters, and larger text. Oftentimes, Hi-Lo books use sentences that focus
more on action and less on description. They also use illustrations to help engage
a child in the books.
Often, a child who struggles with reading becomes discouraged with books—he/ she
may feel like he/she has already failed at reading. Introducing books that he/she
can read, understand, and finish can create a lot of satisfaction for the new booklover.
The child will not only gain confidence in his/her reading abilities, but also have
improved self-esteem and motivation to continue reading! To find Hi-Lo books, talk
with your child’s teacher about his/her reading ability, interests, and motivation.
Knowing this information can help you to find books that will help your child read
independently and successfully!