As our world becomes more and more global, Zoom has become the best way to connect in many ways.
Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has made Zoom the program of choice for all businesses, and especially in education.
Zoom has allowed for a new way to get programs for reading, math, and science to reach students in a new and innovative way. Zoom has become the top tool for instruction from kindergarten to university courses. It is a shift in instruction and teaching that is likely to be long lasting.
However, navigating the world of online teaching has been challenging for many teachers. Of course, it requires becoming familiar with Zoom and all its features.
Reading instruction in particular can be challenging for elementary teachers. But, there are also some great online programs for reading and apps that can help teachers make reading instruction Zoom engaging and fun for them and their students.
How can I teach reading online?
Teachers will need to adapt to new forms of teaching instead of trying to convert their in-classroom strategies for the online format. Here are some tips and tricks for teaching reading online:
- Keep it simple – Reading instruction online needs to be kept as simple as possible. Stick to having one activity and work with one reading for several lessons. This more intensive approach can help your students in the long run to spend more time reading. This can help them improve their reading fluency and their reading comprehension.
- Stay interactive and engaging – The most important aspect of teaching reading online is to keep lessons as interactive and engaging as possible. Teachers should rely on activities that allow for more student-centered work such as virtual read alouds or playing reading games.
- Use Visuals – Using visual aids such as slideshows, mind maps, or even drawings can help make your reading instruction more engaging. Teachers can also use tools where children can make their own visuals like online storybook makers or virtual whiteboards.
- Think-Pair-Share – This classic teaching strategy is easily adaptable on Zoom and makes for a great way to practice reading comprehension online. Often used as a pre- or post- reading activity, Think-Pair-Share is a great way to introduce a reading material or have a discussion after reading.
On Zoom, teachers can introduce a topic or discussion question to students then pair them off in breakout rooms. Students can come back together as a class and share their ideas in the whole class Zoom session.
- Independent practice – Reading instruction via Zoom also will rely heavily on promoting independent practice. This means providing students with ample materials and time to read on their own. In the Zoom session, teachers can focus on having pre- and post- reading activities to introduce new reading materials and then check for comprehension.
- Use apps and online reading games – A great way to utilize online tools on Zoom for reading instruction is to use reading apps and online reading games in the Zoom session.
Using the share screen feature, teachers and students can play online reading games or use reading apps together that can make for a much more interactive and engaging learning experience.
What programs for reading can I use on Zoom?
There are tons and tons of reading apps and online reading programs available for teachers to use on Zoom. Here are some handy and easy ones to use for reading instruction on Zoom:
- Readability – This reading app is a great one for teachers to recommend to parents of new readers to use at home.
Teachers can have students use this app for their independent practice and then check their progress through progress reports that the app provides. It is a great tool for students who might be struggling with learning to read because it essentially acts like a private reading tutor for the student.
Many teachers might not have the time to work individually with students who are behind, so this app makes for a great alternative to have on hand for students if their teacher is not available to help practice reading.
- My Story School eBook Maker – This is a great app to use for creating visual aids for reading instruction. Students can also create their own story book using the app which can help them improve their reading comprehension and fluency.
- Jamboard on Google – While Zoom also has a white board feature, Jamboard is much more interactive digital whiteboard and provides much more features. This is another great tool for teachers to use on Zoom to help them create more visual and engaging reading instruction.
- Sight Words Learning Games and Flash Cards – Teachers and students can both have fun with reading instruction with this gaming app. This sight words- focused app helps students learn new sight words through six interactive games and flash cards. Teachers can use the share screen feature on Zoom to play the games together as a class.
Teaching online is not a new concept, but it is fast becoming a primary form of education. Teaching reading online to elementary students, however, is new territory for many teachers.
The key to making Zoom work for reading instruction is using the online classroom to your advantage.
Using online tools and apps such as Readability can make online classrooms engaging and fun learning environments.
Reading instruction online can be difficult for teachers, but is certainly not impossible especially with strong visual aids and engaging learning opportunities for students.