Adapting Reading Activities for Remote Learning

When we do reading activities in a remote learning environment, we often want to do the same kinds of activities we do when we tutor face-to-face. To do this, we may need to adapt the activity. We may also need to learn how to use different tools to replace the ones we use in the face-to-face session.

Here are some examples:

#1 – Replacing the paper

Using documents on our computer is probably the easiest way to share and read a document together. However, you could use a paper version and a document camera (or a second camera) if you have one available (for more on this see our post on writing using a document camera).

#2 – Replacing the finger or book mark

When you share a screen, you have different options. Use the annotate toolbar to access the ‘pointer’, ‘flashlight’ or ‘highlighter’ options. Or open the document in Word or as a PDF and use the tools there to highlight or mark text as you read it (see our post on using the whiteboard in zoom for more tips on how to do this).

#3 – Talking during the reading activity

Use the video settings in Zoom or your other video-conferencing app, to maintain the video of your learner – and your video on their screen – so you can talk with each other and see each other during the share-screen activity.

#4 – Reading your notes while doing an activity

The “pause share” in the main Zoom toolbar is a fantastic tool to use while screen sharing. When the share is paused, you can scroll through a document on your screen (or move from one document to another on your screen) without changing the text that the learner sees on theirs. You can use the ‘pause screen’ to scroll through a document and remind yourself of vocabulary, or to go to the end of a document to read aloud questions without changing what your learner sees on their screen.

#5 – Making notes or highlighting vocabulary

You can use annotations to make notes or create mind-maps in white space during an activity. You can save the mark up, if you want. by clicking on the Save button on the far right hand side of the annotation toolbar. The Save button takes a screenshot with all annotations intact and saves it to Documents > Zoom > and then a sub folder on your computer. This could be a useful reference document after the reading or when you plan for your next session.

You can also use the ‘chat’ menu to collect word lists or questions that you want to review with your learner later.

Let’s try it out

In this video, a tutor shows us a reading strategy that she is demonstrating to an adult learner. The strategy is ‘making predictions’. (go to minute 1:14 to skip the intro).

But can we do a reading activity like this in the remote environment? How can we adapt the activity so that it works with a learner who we are tutoring through a screen? What tools can we use?

Challenge: Try this out in a Zoom session with your learner. Choose a story at your learner’s level and of interest to them. Try to do a similar ‘predicting’ story reading together using the tips #1 – #5 above. Think about how well it worked? What could you change or do differently next time?

For some great reading resources and activities explore the online reading resource hub area.

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