Ready, Set, Spark!

Spark Reading Newsletter | Jan 2023

As Black History month approaches (Feb 2023), we’re highlighting books you can use to celebrate Black culture, history, and authors throughout the month. This month you’ll also find

  • A tool to help you promote student self-assessment
  • Teacher ideas for using Spark in your classroom
  • Details on Spark’s reading level correlation chart

Feature Highlight!

Check Their Reading Comprehension with Interactive Activities

This month, help your students reflect on their reading skills by encouraging them to try the Listen to Myself Reading feature in Spark. To get started, simply click the Comprehension/Fluency filter and select Listen to Myself reading.

In each level from D to Z, you’ll find one fiction and one non-fiction book with this feature. Pick a book and share it with a few students or your class. Students can record themselves reading and then answer reflective questions to share with you for discussion or review.

Watch this short how-to video for a quick guide to using this feature in your classroom.

Tips From Teachers

Over the past few months, we’ve asked you to share your favourite ways to use Spark in your classroom. Your responses were so helpful we’re sharing some here so everyone can learn from them.

(PS For sharing their tips, each of these teachers wins a set of bean bag chairs for their class!)

We asked: What is your favourite way to use Spark Reading in your class?

Your Answers: 

“Independent reading practise within literacy centres, and comprehension checks.  I love how it collects data with the embedded activities.”

— Grade 5 Teacher

“I use the books that tie into our current units of study. I really like the Indigenous books and perspectives.”

— Combined Grade Level Teacher

“We use it as a home support for those who need some extra help.”

— Grade 6 Teacher

“As a listen to reading option while I teach guided reading groups.”

— Grade 2 Teacher

“I assign books at their level to read at home for extra practice.”

— Grade 2 Teacher

“Mathology books for whole group, assigned texts for differentiated reading assignments.”

— Grade 3 Teacher

The Spark Team’s Tip of the Month
Did You Know…?

Wondering how Spark’s Reading Levels correlate to levels in programs such as Fountas & Pinnell, DRA, and PM? We’ve outlined these correlations for you in our Reading Level Correlation Chart. You can find the chart inside Spark by clicking the info button next to the Reading Level filter. 


Celebrate Black History Month

As you prepare to celebrate Black History Month, we’re excited to support you with English and French books.

We are dedicated to fighting systemic racism and creating bias-free content that reflects the diversity of K-12 learners in Canada. In recent months we’ve been holding bias reviews, training and working diligently to build DE&I into new titles. Read our DE&I statement to learn more about Pearson’s Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) efforts

How Steelpan Came to Canada

(Reading Level J)

Everybody loves a steelpan drum! Learn which country invented this instrument and brought it to Canada.

L’histoire des Noirs de la Nouvelle-Écosse

(Reading Level V)

Joignez-vous à moi dans ma quête d’explorer mon héritage familial et l’histoire des Noirs de la Nouvelle-Écosse.

The Nutmeg Princess

(Reading Level O)

This tale about a magical princess who cannot be seen by everyone tells how nutmeg became the most precious crop in the Isle of Spice 

Nelson Mandella Leading The Way 

(Reading Level R)

Nelson Mandela faced danger, prejudice, and cruelty—and became a symbol for freedom around the world.

Pionniers et pionnières au Canada

(Reading Level X)

Brèves biographies de quatre incroyables pionnières et pionniers de l’histoire du Canada issus de la communauté noire - Lucie et Thornton Blackburn, Mifflin Gibbs et Violet King.

The Dream and Beyond: My Story

(Reading Level R)

A memoir about a man whose dreams of playing in the NBA didn't pan out, but he learned that was okay after having an incredible career playing professional basketball around the world.