Setting up for Success

When a tutor and learner are doing a reading activity, it is important to think about:

  • Who will be reading?
  • Do we both need to see the same text?
  • Do we both need to hear each other?
  • Do we both need to see each other?
  • Do either of us need to take notes or ‘write’?

Making sure you both have a copy of the text

When you have chosen a text for you or your learner to read, you need to decide who needs to be able to see the text. In a remote tutoring session, you will encounter one of the following challenges as you try to share a text with your learner – or your learner tries to share a text with you.

  • you both have a physical copy of the text
  • only one of you has a physical copy of the text
  • the text is online
  • the text is a document on your computer (or on your learner’s computer)

Question: Are these challenges familiar to you? How have you handled these situations?

Making sure you can hear each other

You need to be able to hear each other read clearly, without interruptions and at a good volume. Here are some practical tips before you start:

  • test your audio settings before your session starts
  • ask your learner to test their audio settings before you start
  • wear a headset
  • check the settings in Zoom or What’s App or Facetime – can you opt for ‘noise reduction’?

Question: How many of these audio checks do you do?

Making sure you can see each other

Remember, it’s really important to see how your learner reads – not only hear how well they read. Equally, your learner can learn a lot from seeing how you read. Here are some things you can watch out for when someone is reading:

  • eye movement as they read – are they following the words or jumping from one place to another
  • use of their finger or a bookmark as they read to follow where they are in the text
  • see when they pause and look back at text they have already read
  • position of the text from their eyes – are they able to see the text well

Positioning your devise camera so that you can see each other when reading is a really useful tool during a reading activity.

Question: Look at each photo in the collage below. Which student is in a good position for a reading activity?

Zoom meeting etiquette: 15 tips and best practices for online video  conference meetings -

Question: Are any of these familiar to you and your learner?

Setting up devices so that we can see each other can be a real challenge! For some of these situations, the solution is as simple as positioning the device so that you and your learner are in a better position.

In some cases, you might need to be more creative. To better position a phone or tablet during a session, you can make a stand from simple household items like a bulldog clip and an elastic band, or a piece of card. Here are two video links you can go to to see how!

Question: Have you or your learner come up with ways to set up devices so that you can see each other more clearly during a reading activity?

You can also play with your video display settings in Apps like Zoom, during the reading activity.

Did you know, it is possible to share text on a screen, hide the view of you, but keep the view of your learner when you are working on Zoom? To do this on a laptop, while screen sharing choose the ‘pin’ the video of your learner by using the triple dot ‘. . .‘ menu that you can see on your learner’s video feed.

On a tablet/iPad or smartphone, there are also ways to change who the talking head is while you’re screen sharing. Look for the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ icons on the top corners of the video feed boxes in your view.

Challenge: Before you start a reading activity. Is there something you can change about your set up or recommend to your learner?

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

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