Tuesday, March 14, 2017

#road2reading Challenge - Candlewick Sparks series 3.14.17

All journeys have a starting place.
This is a weekly place to find books and tools 
that you may use with readers at the start of their reading journey.
Join in the conversation at #road2reading.

Looking for books for early readers can be tricky.  It's not as easy walking into the picture book section and finding a book that looks good.  Books for early readers need to have controlled text, sight words, simple characters, plot and settings.

Publishers have long been putting some forms of "levels" on books to show they are for readers who are beginning to read more independently.  The problem is the lack of consistency.  The problem is how we sometimes use those "levels".  Be sure to check out Alyson's post about this here.

Candlewick has long published books that fit the early reader/transitional chapter book format.  They have recently re-marketed some of their early reader books under the "SPARKS for new readers!" tag.  What I like about this is there is no level defining who the book is for.  We know it is for a new reader, signifying someone who is ready for some independence.  But that reader is not attached to a specific level, which we know varies from publisher to publisher.

I think these series would interest readers in kindergarten - 2nd grade.  However, I would also use them with older students who are working on their independent reading.  Feeling successful is important to them and the controlled text is helpful.  Remember, hooking kids into a series is a great way for them to find consistency across books.  Take a look at these:

Monkey and Elephant by Carole Lexa Schaefer    Monkey and Elephant Get Better by Carole Lexa Schaefer    Monkey and Elephant Go Gadding by Carole Lexa Schaefer    Monkey and Elephant and a Secret Birthday Surprise by Carole Lexa Schaefer
Monkey and Elephant series
written by Carole Lexa Schaefer
illustrated by Galia Bernstein

Zelda and Ivy: The Runaways    Zelda and Ivy: The Big Picture: Candlewick Sparks     Zelda and Ivy and the Boy Next Door    Zelda and Ivy: Keeping Secrets: Candlewick Sparks
Zelda and Ivy series
by Laura McGee Kvasnosky

Poppy the Pirate Dog    Poppy the Pirate Dog's New Shipmate    Poppy the Pirate Dog and the Missing Treasure
Poppy the Pirate Dog series
written by Liz Kessler
illustrated by Mike Phillips

Annie and Simon     Annie and Simon: The Sneeze and Other Stories
Annie and Simon series
by Catharine O'Neill

If you have readers for these series make sure you be on the lookout for them!

Alyson blogs about the need for diverse books in all formats here

What books are you using with your students on the #road2reading?  Link up with us!


  1. Candlewick has a nice variety of early readers in their Sparks series. Thanks for featuring them. I have read the first book in each of these series in order to have a general idea about the books.

  2. I especially love the Zelda and Ivy books. The Poppy books are on my TBR pile -- have you had fun with them?