Tips & Resources for Writing High-Low Books

What Are High-Low Books?

High-low books have HIGH engagement, LOW reading levels, making them appeal to struggling and reluctant readers. High engagement means:

  • Exciting plots
  • Engaging characters
  • Fun graphics

Other Characteristics of High-Low Books

  • “Friendly” font size
  • Lots of white space
  • Simple vocabulary and sentence structure 
  • Skinny
  • Address more grown-up topics than other books on reading level
  • Graphic novels and books in verse appear on high-low lists

The Appeal of High-Low Books

For Readers:

  • They don’t look like “baby books”
  • They’re not intimidating
  • The topics match their age/interest

For teachers, librarians, & parents:

  • They help struggling readers (including kids with dyslexia) build vocabulary, reading confidence, and love of reading.
  • They’re a stepping stone to standard texts.

Tips & Tools for Writing High-Low Books

  • Picture a child of the target reading level AND ANOTHER of the target age for content
  • Use fewer characters & settings to keep word count low and make it easier for readers to track what’s happening
  • Plot to keep the story tight
    • Break your plot down into chapters
    • Figure out your word count/chapter
    • Know where you need to get to with each chapter as you write 
  • Use a text analyzer to check the level of your text

Publishers of High-Low Books Include Small Press, Packagers, & Big 4

Resources: High-Low Book Lists

Other Resources

Have More Questions?
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