When you and your learner are doing a reading activity, you might find yourself:
- Reading along – chorus reading or echo reading or reading to your learner
- Coaching as you go – helping the reader when they stumble or struggle
- Correcting – pointing out where a reader has made a mistake
- Motivating – providing ongoing encouragement as a reader tackles a text
Tools that you might find useful
#1 – Sound
Controlling audio during a video-conferencing call can be awkward. The technology on Zoom, for example, only allows one speaker at a time. We are often hearing ourselves interrupt others or apologizing for speaking at the same time as someone else. In addition, the sound quality or delays in sound due to a bad internet connection might also make partnered reading quite difficult to manage. If you want to avoid background noise disturbing the reader, switch to ‘Mute’.
If you really want to do chorus reading, you’re going to have to be creative. You could read together over the phone while sharing the text on a screen in a video conference. Echo reading or solo reading are easier to manage in a video call. But try to agree where you will each read before you get started.
#2 – Video
If you are reading text, you might forget to think about how useful the video options are as a tutor. We talked about video cues in Activity 1: Setting up for success. Try to encourage your learner to read in front of the camera with the video on. Create the right set up at your end so that you can watch the learner read while also following the text.
If you are using What’s App, FaceTime or Messenger, your options are fewer. You and your learner may find it better to read from a hard copy and use the App to share audio and video of you reading.
#3 – Annotations
When you use the Share Screen function in Zoom, you can annotate the document you are sharing. The annotation toolbar features pointer tools, drawing tools, shapes, a text tool, an arrow, stamps and highlighters that you can use to mark the screen as your learner reads. Caution: annotation is not ‘fixed’ to the document you are annotating. If you scroll, the document will move but your annotations will not.
If you are using What’s App, FaceTime or Messenger, your options are fewer. You and your learner may find it better to read from a hard copy and make notes as you go. You could also use your device as a document camera during the reading and use a pen, highlighter or other physical tools to mark up the copy as a learner reads. This is more challenging and setting up your device as a camera is the key to being successful. To find out more about how to set up a document camera go to this post on writing using a document camera.
#4 – Emojis & Reactions
If you are using a physical copy of a text and watching someone read, you can use the emoji and reactions buttons to let them know how they are doing without speaking and interrupting the audio. If you don’t see this feature, check that you ‘Enable Nonverbal Feedback’ in your Zoom Settings (it’s in the In Meeting (Basic) section). You should now see Reactions options for yes, no, go slower, go faster, and a more button that has a few extra emojis in your main Zoom menu.
You don’t need to use the tools in Zoom, What’s App or Facetime, you can also make your own emoji cards to hold up in front of the camera. Your own reactions are also important ~ just remember to set up the video feed for both you and your learner so that they can see you while they read.
#5 – Other tools
You don’t have to use any of the Zoom or App features while your learner is reading. You can make notes while your learner is reading and share them at the end. If it helps, you can use chat to make notes as your learner is reading and then go through the chat with them after they have finished reading.
Challenge: As you do your next reading activity with your learner, use some of these tools/strategies to support, coach, encourage and correct the reader during and after the activity. Remember, one of you needs to share the screen to enable the annotate tool bar.
For some great reading resources and activities explore the online reading resource hub area.