Two Hi/Low series from Axis Education quizzed for AR

By Chris Jarosh

We have recently released reading practice quizzes on two series of Hi/Lo books from Axis Education. These books are carefully written for students with low reading ages, but have plot lines that will appeal to older readers. By using culturally relevant settings and situations, the books are an engaging take on daily life for students and young adults. We asked some members of our quiz editing team to give their thoughts on the series.

Fletcher Road by Julie Wilson

Book cover for The New Kid by Julie WilsonFletcher Road is a fictional school, but events there will be familiar to anyone who has spent any time at contemporary secondary schools. The students are always texting each other, getting up to no good on Facebook, and doing things they shouldn’t round the back of the huts. Each of the books is between 2200 and 2500 words long and the Book Levels range from 2.8 to 3.5, making them ideal for older reluctant readers. There is drama in every story. While each one stands alone, together they conjure an engaging image of school life that will resonate with the target audience.

Laura Claridge, our Senior Editor, picked out The New Kid as a particular highlight.

It’s rare to find Hi/Lo books with such tightly told story lines. The New Kid is about Max, a new boy in Year 8 who isn’t making an effort to fit in or make friends. Jake is asked by the Head to keep an eye on him, but Max doesn’t seem interested. Before long both boys are getting teased, but after Max uses his kickboxing skills to stand up to the bullies he opens up to Jake.

This is a powerful story, sensitively told, which is all the more impressive when you consider the economy of the language and sentence structure.

This Life Readers Plus by Jayne Garner

Book cover for Going Out by Jane GarnerEvery book in this series covers a familiar part of life that will resonate with young adult readers. Stories include Take a Break, in which young couple Tom and Kim struggle to decide where to go on holiday. Busy Doing Nothing is about John, a self-confessed couch potato who considers his options for taking up a hobby… and decides he’d rather watch TV after all.

Every story is told in simple language: Book Levels range between 2.4 and 3.3. They are illustrated with whimsical photography that brings the characters and their circumstances to life. With word counts no higher than 650 words, they are very accessible for struggling readers.

Editor Sophie Walters had this to say about the series:

These books are a fantastic addition to our Hi/Lo range of quizzes. They are short enough and simple enough to be read by struggling readers, but because they feature adult characters and situations they feel very grown-up.

I particularly enjoyed Going Out, which tells the story of Bev’s attempts to take John out on a date. The plot gets increasingly quirky, as John comes up with a long list of poor excuses not to go out with her. He can’t go to the cinema because he’s afraid of the dark… he can’t go to a disco because he doesn’t like loud music. The illustrations help to bring out the growing absurdity of the situation. These books don’t take themselves too seriously, and as a result they are perfectly pitched for the reluctant readers they are written for.

Posted on 9 October 2014 at 4:10 pm
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