Hi-Lo Books for Teens and Adults

What makes a book really interesting? Is it an action-driven plot? Or exciting, edgy topics? Or maybe it’s realistic characters or characters you can relate to? Whatever the formula, teens and adults reading at a low vocabulary or low reading level deserve interesting books too.

Luckily, publishers put out a variety of reading materials for just this situation—books that are interesting but that are also simple enough for struggling readers or readers who are learning a second language.

These books are often referred to as hi-lo books, which is short for high interest, low reading level. Sometimes it’s difficult to locate these books in the library catalog or on library shelves. They just look like regular books! We've created a list of books that have high interest and low reading levels. These will be valuable for teens who may be reading below grade level or for ESL learners.

Hi-Lo Books

High interest, low reading level books for teens and adults.

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You can also find some amazing titles for Emerging Adults, opens a new window on Hoopla, one of our eResources that's available 24/7, giving you access to millions of audiobooks, eBooks, comics and much more.

Finding a Book's Reading Level in the Catalog

What if you already have a book in mind and you want to know what its reading level is? There are many ways that reading experts use to level books. The most popular leveling systems are Lexile, Accelerated Reader, Reading Counts, and Fountas and Pinnell. But don’t worry, you don’t have to be a reading expert to find a book’s reading level!

If you find a book in the catalog at smcl.org, click on the title, then choose “full details."

Scroll down to “audience” and, if the information is available, the reading level will be listed.

Other good sites to find reading levels are Scholastic Book Wizard, opens a new window and Reading Counts Book Expert Online., opens a new window Our database Novelist K-8 Plus is also an excellent resource. Once you have the reading level, use a guided reading leveling chart, opens a new window to go from level to grade or between leveling systems.