Hi-Lo Books for Struggling or Reluctant Readers

by | Jun 21, 2019 | Resources | 6 comments

Have you ever told your bored (and dyslexic) kids to go read a book? I know I have! The problem with this advice is that for many struggling readers, reading is still too difficult to be enjoyable. Choosing a few Hi-Lo books (high interest/low readability) for your struggling or reluctant readers may be just the remedy for this problem.

For many struggling or reluctant readers, reading is too much of a chore to be enjoyable. Hi-Lo books can help. #homeschoolingwithdyslexia #homeschooling #greatbooks #strugglingreaders #reluctantreaders #booklists  #dyslexia

Use Hi- Lo Books for Struggling Readers

Hi-Lo books can motivate struggling readers by providing books on topics that are engaging that are also targeted toward their independent reading level. Hi-Lo books can help build reading fluency, vocabulary, background knowledge, and interest in reading.  They also have the advantage of looking like chapter books and are written about interesting topics with easy readability.

What a great find these books have been for our family! Many companies offer Hi-Lo books for struggling readers.

Here are some of our favorites:

Great Illustrated Classics

Great Illustrated Classics are just that.  With large print, an illustration on every other page and excellent classic stories such as Treasure Island, Oliver Twist, Anne of Green Gables and Pride and Prejudice, our kids eat these books up.  Written at approximately a 2-3rd grade level, they are excellent for both the young reader and the older struggling reader.  Some of these are available on Kindle with Whispersync technology. Out of print. Search Amazon for used versions.

Classic Starts

Similar to the Great Illustrated Classics.  I look for all of these books at yard sales, used curriculum sales and thrift stores but they can be purchased fairly inexpensively in paperback via Amazon as well.

High Noon Books

The website allows you to browse books by reading level or subject/genre. In addition, High Noon Books offers many resources for teaching kids with reading struggles.

High Interest Publishing – HIP Publishing

HIP Books publishes novels that are written, edited and designed for struggling and reluctant readers from age 8 to 18. The company also offers print and online teacher resources to help educators teach reading strategies, boost comprehension and improve students’ general reading skills.

Perfection Learning

Perfection Learning carries Hi-Lo books and resources for teachers.

Simple Words Books

High interest books with delightful story lines and controlled vocabulary.

Keystone Books

From the Capstone web site, “Dynamic, riveting action captivates the reluctant reader in these age-appropriate and illustrated tales. The high-interest topics offer an array of genres. Short chapters, smooth dialogue, and adrenaline-soaked subjects will help turn struggling skimmers into excited book lovers.”  Reading Level: 2-3  Interest Level: 5-9

Extensive List of Books at 2-4th Grade Level

Many of these books can be found at your local library.

The children’s librarians at the Logan (Utah) Library developed a High Interest/Low Reading Level Book List for children in grades 3-12. The list indicates both the independent reading level (by grade) and the interest level (by grade).

How to Determine Your Child’s Reading Level

Need to figure out at what level your child is reading?  Read this article on using the Fry’s Readability Graph.

Graphic Novels for Struggling or Reluctant Readers

Similar to comic books, graphic novels use lots of visuals with a limited amount of text to tell the story. Graphic novels can be especially appealing to readers who are reluctant to pick up a more traditional book. Graphic novels are a great way to help struggling readers strengthen vocabulary, build reading confidence and stamina, and develop a deeper appreciation of storytelling.

Read this list from Reading Rockets of graphic novels by theme.

Here are a few more highly recommended graphic novels that we recently purchased for our kids ages 7-10:

Do you have any Hi-Lo book or graphic novel resources to recommend?


  1. Cigdem

    Did you check out Simple Words Books (simplewordsbooks.com) for decodable chapter books?

    • Marianne

      Thank you for reminding me! I love Simple Words Books. I’ll add them to my list. 🙂

  2. Penny

    Graphic novels have been what sparked my dyslexic child’s desire to read on her own!
    Beginning with simpler ones like Chi’s Sweet Home, Yotsuba (Japanese anime designed for young kids)
    Then moving on and enjoying Manga Shakespeare.

    Another fun graphic book is The Little prince

    • Carla Gillis

      Yes, my daughters too. She can spell anime and lots of the Japanese names. But struggles to read simple things. Silly kids.

  3. Pamela Brookes

    DOG ON A LOG Books. They are written in Steps with 5 books at each Step. Each following Step has 5 more books with 1 to 3 more phonics rules. There’s even a list of sight words used in each book so that kids can be prepared for them.

    • Marianne

      Thanks Pamela! I’ll check them out!



  1. What We’re Reading Lately: May 2018 – Humility and Doxology - […] heard of this book to put it on hold at the library. I think we most recently saw it…
  2. Review: Dreaming in Color by Melanie Florence - Meredith Rankin - […] (Hi-lo books means “high interest, low readability”, which is helpful for reluctant readers, such as those with dyslexia or…
  3. Accessible books have something for all children - Books2All - […] experience difficulties reading can become distressed, which leads to disengagement. Investing in high-interest/low readability topic books will encourage reluctant…
  4. What We're Reading Lately: May 2018 | Humility and Doxology - […] heard of this book to put it on hold at the library. I think we most recently saw it…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *