The other day, I was searching for high interest, low level book series and I struggled to find reviews from urban, public school teachers, such as myself. So here goes. Below are a few excellent book series, I've come across thus far.
The Carter High series is amazing. It is low level, as in third grade or so, and it is high interest in that it is a realistic fiction series that deals with issues high schoolors go through. Middle schoolers, especially the upper grades that I've worked with, eat it up! Both boys and girls seem to thoroughly enjoy this series.
Ideally, a struggling reader will go from devouring the Carter High series and graduate to the well-known and loved Bluford series. However, the Bluford series while lower-level is still too high for some students who struggle with reading but are socially mature. It can be especially challenging to get most students to read what they consider baby books at their current levels. The Bluford series is great for reluctant, middle school readers who are only one or two years below grade level. Here is a link with information on how to purchase Bluford books for $1 directly from the Townsend Press publisher. Just a heads up, keep a tight grip on these books; they will disappear from your classroom forever if you are not diligent!
For the not-as-socially mature, or perhaps more playful, struggling reader, R.L. Stine's Rotten School series is perfect. Who know the writer of the acclaimed Goosebumps series could be so hilarious! The Rotten School series is on a third or fourth grade reading level and enjoyed by boys and girls.
There is also the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilky. This graphic novel of sorts is very popular with children who have a sense of humor or enjoy reading silly, not-too-serious books. The reading level for the series is approximately third or fourth grade. These books will also disappear from classroom libraries forever if the teacher is not careful!
Similarly, there is the Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot series, also by Dav Pilky. This action, adventure series is also a graphic novel, and is on a second grade reading level.
The Weird School series by Dan Gutman is on a second grade level and is a fun read for boys and girls. This series includes many, many books which can be helpful for older, struggling readers who need to read a lot at their level in order to improve their fluency and comprehension.
As you can see, most of the low level, high interest book series I can vouch for are humorous, often slightly-zany books. It is challenging to find realistic fiction books that adolescents can relate to. I did request that my principal order the Orca Currents series, but I haven't read any of these books nor have I seen students in my past school devour this series in the way they have responded to the aforementioned books. Either way, Ocra prides itself on catering to reluctant readers, so I will let you all know what I think when I get to read a few.
Next up, nonfiction books for reluctant readers. Until then...
Love, Miss M