Sparx Reader at The Halley Academy

Two female students are shown sitting together at a desk discussing with one another whilst working on laptop computers.

Dear Parents/Carers, 

Sparx Reader at The Halley Academy

We are excited to let you know that, following the success that our academy has experienced in using Sparx Maths, we are also partnering with Sparx to use their new reading platform, Sparx Reader. Your child will now be using this platform to complete weekly reading homework that will support them in reading texts regularly that will help them advance their literacy skills. Research has consistently shown that the two greatest determining factors on a student’s progress at secondary school is having attendance above 95%, and reading every week. 

In line with the weekly maths homework, Sparx Reader tasks will be set every Thursday and will be due on the following Wednesday. Students are able to choose from a range of ebooks appropriate to their level and as they read they will answer questions to check that they are reading carefully. Careful readers earn Sparx Reader Points and we will be celebrating student successes and issuing praise emails and certificates in reward of their engagement with reading for pleasure. Motivated readers who demonstrate consistent, careful reading can unlock Gold Reader. This means that, in addition to the Sparx homework, they can add any paper book from the library or from home to their reading record, by scanning in its barcode. 

Parents can view reading homework information alongside their existing view of Maths homework, including current and previous homework, and what books their child is reading. Students who do not complete the expected reading tasks will be set a Loss of Personal Time sanction, after school on Thursday with a member of the English department. A parent user guide is included on page 2 of this letter. 

Many thanks in advance for your support. We are excited to work with Sparx Reader to develop our students’ reading abilities as we strongly believe that this is the key to success across the curriculum. 

If you have any questions about this platform, please do not hesitate to contact the admin team.  

Yours faithfully,

Mrs H. Panton | Deputy Head of Turing School

Parent/Carer Guide and FAQ

What is Sparx Reader?
Sparx Reader is a reading, comprehension and vocabulary programme that gets young people reading regularly to help improve their Literacy.

How does it work?
Students have access to a single sign-on which means that they can easily login using their Academy Google account. Students are set homework each week on Sparx Reader. Students are set the task of reading a book of their choice on the platform each week. Students need to collect 300 SRP per week to complete their homework. This equates to around 30 minutes of slow, concise and accurate reading per week. SRP points, or Sparx Reader Points are awarded to students for completing their homework.  Students will also compete in form groups to collect the most SRP points.

How will teachers use Sparx?
We will track student’s progress and engagement using the Sparx Reading System. Once students have completed a placement test, the ‘library’ on Sparx Reader will open and students can select a book to read for homework. As students read, they will be asked some comprehension questions to check their understanding and to ensure they are completing their homework weekly. Tasks are personalised based on each student’s reading ability so that every student can be successful with their reading. The books that a student can choose from are carefully chosen so that the text is accessible yet suitably challenging.

Do students read whole e-books?
Yes, students read whole e-books on the platform, not just short excerpts. Each story has been carefully broken up into passages, and at the end of a passage, a student will be asked a few questions about that part of the story. When they complete the questions, they will move onto the next part of the book.

Can students read on other devices?
Yes, the Sparx platform works on laptops, Chromebooks, tablets and mobile phones. 

Does it have a range of books suitable for all reading ages?
We have e-books from a Sparx Level 1, which is roughly equivalent to a reading age of just over 6 up to 17+  which includes classic literature such as Animal Farm and A Christmas Carol. Gold readers can read any paperback book from their school library – some books require teacher validation before they can be read.  There are enough books so that students at every level always have a choice of books to read. Students identified as Gold Readers will record their reading onto the platform themselves as a record of their personal reading, students would become ‘Gold Readers’ when they have shown they can read carefully consistently and this is when they can load their own books onto the system.

At what level are students allowed to read books of their own choice?
Students who are new to Sparx Reader will be given a selection of carefully selected e-books that they can work through over several weeks. This allows us to understand whether they are able to read carefully and are motivated to independently finish a book. Those who demonstrate they can do this will then be able to add their own books to the system. 

We do not use students’ level or reading age to decide when to unlock this feature, meaning weaker readers will be able to add their own books if they are reading carefully and are motivated to complete books independently. Similarly, if stronger readers cannot demonstrate that they can read the e-books carefully and remain motivated to complete books, they will continue to only have access to the Sparx Reader e-books.

How do I log in?
Students should be able to login by selecting the ‘Google’ icon. If they encounter any issues, they can select The Halley Academy school in the drop-down menu and then enter their login details, which their regular English or Maths teacher can provide. These are the same login details they use for Sparx Maths.