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What Is a “Hi-Lo” Book?
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!
 
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