Why did L.B. Tillit Start Writing Hi-Lo Books?

Engaging reluctant readers since 2012!

Why did L.B. Tillit Start Writing Hi-Lo Books?

If I can impact one reader at a time to build their reading fluency to a point where they seek out other literature, then I have done my job.

Why did L.B. Tillit start writing Hi-Lo books? This is a great question! I have a very good reason for why I began writing Hi-Lo books. But, my story will also explain why I am passionate about Hi-Lo books.

When my daughter, Maya, was in 1st grade she was not reading on a first-grade reading level. Her older sisters had never had a problem with learning how to read. So I had never paid much attention to Maya’s reading. I thought she’d eventually get it.  But that November Maya’s teacher told me that she was concerned and wanted to refer her to be evaluated. At that point, I knew I needed to take Maya’s reading skills seriously.

At that time, I had been trained to teach High School students how to read. These students struggled with reading, how to decode (read) and encode (spell) the English language.  I had the basic understanding of how English worked (Finally! Since it was so different from German, the language that I learned to read and write in first).

Soon the school began the referral process to test Maya for a reading disability. However, I told them that while they worked through the long process, I would try to teach her at home. I decided to apply my knowledge on how-to-teach-reading-to-teens to my little first grade daughter.  How hard could it be?

I quickly learned that Maya preferred to make up her own stories. She would only look at the pictures on the pages of the little four-page-books she brought home. The words were of no interest. Maya didn’t care if a “dog liked his ball”.  In fact, she was more interested in pretending that the words said something else. For example, “the dog was really sad because he lost his favorite ball.” She refused to read what was on the page. I knew then that teaching her to read would take more than just teaching her how to decode words.

I knew Maya needed more interesting content, even if she couldn’t read at a beginning first grade level! So, I abandoned those 4-page texts and began to write my own story. 

I used the first-grade level site words that had to be mastered. In addition, I used words that were easy to decode. I managed to create a story written on a first-grade reading level, but at a higher interest level.

She would read one chapter from this story (two pages with no pictures) every day. I would make the story unpredictable and she had to read the words to see the picture in her head. Within eight weeks of her reading my story, the school tested Maya again. That time she performed at the end of a first-grade reading level. Everyone was shocked.

It wasn’t long before Maya had passed the reading level of the story that I had written for her. She discovered that reading would let her dive into other stories that were interesting. Ones that fed her imagination and interests. I had done what I set out to do.  My Hi-Lo story had been a bridge.

So if someone asks you, “Why did L.B. Tillit start writing hi-lo books?” Tell them that my experience with Maya inspired me to continue writing Hi-Lo books. This includes my new series, The Way I See It. If I can impact one reader at a time to build their reading fluency to a point where they seek out other literature, then I have done my job. https://www.lbtillit.com/the-way-i-see-it-series/

The Way I See It series,by LB Tillit, engages readers as they move from one book to the next. This not only builds reading fluency, but also helps prepare reluctant readers for more complex literature. https://www.myeasyreadbooks.com/

Blog Photo Credit: LB Tillit (Actual picture of my daughter, Maya. . . when she was younger)