Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Hi/Lo Books

As many parents, teachers, and librarians know, not all children are good readers or even care to read. Some even have learning disabilites and reading difficulties that have made it painful and a chore to read. Hi/Lo books are written with these children in mind and are books that are intended to stimulate a high interest but are written for a lower reading level. Vocabulary, text print and page layouts in these books are usually crafted to appeal to children and young adults who usually do not like to read for various reasons.

It has not been easy to find good lists of Hi/Lo books for young adults and teens on the Internet. Some of the best sites I found are:

I would be interested in learning of any other good Hi/Lo sites or lists on the Internet.

Monday, November 15, 2004


I just finished reading Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli to my daughter (12 1/2 years old). He has also written one of our favorites, Maniac Magee, as well as Milkweed, Wringer, Crash, and My Daddy and Me. Stargirl is very simiar to Maniac Magee, in a sense. This book is about a teenager who is quite different from her peers. She has a very carefree, natural, sincere and caring nature all her own. Her differences eventually lead to her being shunned by her classmates who have trouble understanding and accepting her. When she tries to be like them she is still ostracized and eventually returns to herself, only to finally win them over.
We liked Stargirl and it was amazing how many people in my daughter's class at school were similar to some of the characters in the book. This provided for interesting discussions about school friends and how they act. Even though the ending was somewhat predictable, Spinelli's Stargirl makes the reader think about differences in people and how we react to them. I think it is a book best read aloud to lower and middle school students so they will get the most out of the story. Older readers who read it alone will enjoy it as a quick, fun read with a message.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Tom Sawyer

Tonight I finished reading to my daughter The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. It was the original text. She is in seventh grade and had been assignd to read it by herself. A truly great book but given the writing style I felt it was best if we read it together. I also introduced her to Spark Notes. We enjoyed it but I feel she would have gotten more out of it if she had been assigned the Penguin Classic edition where the language and writing has been modified to make it easier to understand and read. The original text seems a real challenge even for advanced readers in her age group.