Some Great Hi-Lo Books for Middle School

One area that my classroom library is lacking in is high interest books for some of my developing readers.  No one in 6th grade wants to look like they are reading a “baby” book, but I hate watching them struggle with books that are above their level.  Needless to say, I was thrilled when I saw a Capstone Press catalog because they publish lots of fiction and nonfiction that are perfect for middle school developing readers!

The Pukey Book of Vomit (Edge Books) by Connie Colwell Miller is perfect for those kids who love to be grossed out. It covers fascinating topics like “How Vomit Happens” and “Upchuck!”. Needless to say, EW! The book itself is a great mix of straight text, graphics, sidebars, and diagrams. Personally, I learned that when you throw up, your stomach actually turns almost completely inside out! Again- Ew. While the subject matter is gross, The Pukey Book of Vomit (Edge Books) is awesome. It’s a big hit with all my boys, who are now experts on puke.

How to Survive a Flood (Edge Books) by Matt Doeden taught me a lot about how to stay safe in a flood. Doeden teaches the reader how to survive a flood if you are trapped in a car, if you are caught off guard, and a variety of other situations. Again, the book is full of nonfiction features and the subject matter is perfect for dormant and developing readers. Highly recommended.

Carnival of Horrors (Shade Books) by Phillip Preece is perfect for those kids who want to read Cirque du Freak but just aren’t there yet. They love that the cover of the book looks like a middle school book and not like a baby book. But on the inside, there is plenty of white space and the text is perfect for developing readers. The story isn’t that scary, but it’s good enough. The illustrations are creepy, though!

Summer of Sabotage by Bob Temple. Again, the cover really sells this one. It doesn’t look like a baby book! In fact, the cover actually creeps me out a little, and I’m the teacher! This is a great mystery about a water park where strange accidents keep occurring. The two main characters are determined to find out who is causing these accidents, though they could easily be the next victims.

All of these books are aimed at students in grades 5-9, but they are written at a grades 2-4 reading level. The fiction books aren’t fantastic writing- characters are flat, the stories are predictable (to me). But for developing readers, these are perfect. And honestly, the nonfiction titles are awesome for any elementary or middle school classroom.