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Middle Grade written for Early Readers

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I know several teachers who all have a big problem with finding books for their kids. Said kids are 4th and 5th graders who are either pre- or early readers, in special needs or low-level classes. These kids can't read much higher than first grade level and have comprehension to match. But they have a very hard time reading books that are for their reading level, because those books tend to be written for much younger kids. They're boring, and it's embarrassing for them to be "seen with" the books, which turns them off of reading altogether.

What they really need are books that have middle grade plots and characters, but written in early reader format so they don't get frustrated and give up on the second page. Think Bailey School Kids or Diary of a Wimpy Kid in terms of content, but Dolch Word List in terms of actual reading and writing level. Has anyone heard of or written anything like this?

Related: on request of a friend (she teaches inner city novice fourth graders and is desperate for books for independent reading) I've started writing a few myself. (It's actually pretty tricky!) But honestly, I can't see them as something an agent or publisher would be interested for, since the books are definitely not for "main stream" middle grade kids. I'm thinking that self-publishing just might be the way to go, and that would mostly be as a way to get the books to the teachers and schools who could use them. Any thoughts or opinions? I'm completely new to this genre and style of writing for this very specific niche group. I'd appreciate any insight someone more experienced could offer.
#1 - August 26, 2013, 03:23 PM

You are describing hi-low readers, like these:

several educational houses do publish them.

:) eab
#2 - August 26, 2013, 03:40 PM


Those do seem to be exactly what I'm looking for/writing. And now I know what to call them. Thank you!
#3 - August 27, 2013, 08:27 AM

You are welcome. I have done that kind of writing, and it *is* very hard. But also, very needed.

#4 - August 27, 2013, 11:00 AM


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