Hi/Lo Series to Explore

High-interest/ Low-reading level series (hi/lo) offer students materials that are about age/ grade appropriate subjects at a reading level that is usually a few grade levels lower than the interest level of the book. This year, a focus of mine has been to select hi/lo series, with the help of Special Education teachers in my school, that will be well-read and well-loved by my students.

While I do often recommend titles from our general collection or fromYALSA’s Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers list, having a section of hi/lo series (which I too label “Quick Picks”) helps lower reading level students be able to make independent book selection and find something they enjoy quickly. Many of these series are also popular with teens who read at their grade level as well, which is something I hoped when building the collection.

Here are a few of the hi/lo series that are popular in my library right now:

Real Justice (Lorimer) — This nonfiction series covers stories of wrongful conviction.  Several fans of the podcast Serial or CSI have taken to these books as their go-to series. Back matter in each book provides a glossary, sources, and suggestions for further reading.

Dark Hunter (Darby Creek/Lerner)— Mr. Blood hunts evil vampires, ghosts, and werewolves and other supernatural creatures alongside his assistants Mary and Edgar.

Support and Defend (Darby Creek/ Lerner) — In this series, young men and women deal with some of the challenges that come from living in a military family. Some also pursue their own ambitions to join the Armed Forces or participate in ROTC.

Jake Maddox JV/ Team Jake Maddox Sports Stories (Stone Arch Books) — Two favorite series with our middle school and high school students, these sports books tell stories from a wide range of girls and Boys athletics — including sports like lacrosse, fishing, and field hockey.

Cap Central (Saddleback) — Students at Cap Central High School in Northeast DC face a variety of common teen challenges from parents’ unemployment to eating disorders.

Urban Underground (Saddleback) — This series follows a group of friends during their junior year at Tubman High.

Do your teens have any favorite hi/lo series? We’re always looking for recommendations for what to offer next!


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