Using PDF Files For Online Reading Activities

Challenge – It can be challenging to do reading activities online as often learners do not have an access to a printer or computer, meaning they will be viewing the reading materials on a mobile phone. Moreover, if you want learners to do group reading activities in breakout rooms, they will not be able to view the teachers screen via share screen. The way we overcame this challenge was by sharing reading materials with learners via PDF files.

Tools Used – Zoom Breakout Rooms, Microsoft Snipping Tool

Activity Outline

In this example learners were asked to do a collaborative reading activity . Each group of three was placed in a Zoom breakout room to answer comprehension questions from an IELTS reading text.


Before the Lesson:

1 – If you want to use a PDF make sure to convert your reading materials into a PDF file.

2 – For example, if you have a reading material in a textbook that you want to send your learners, you could using Snipping Tool to copy the text from the textbook into a word document.

Example of reading document copied via Snipping Tool

3 – Then save the word document as a PDF. This will convert the word document into a PDF File that you will be able to share with learners.


1 – Tell your learners that you will now share the reading material needed for the reading activity.

2 – Send your learners the PDF file you want to share via email, whats app or any other way.

3 – Unfortunately, you cannot share files via Zoom with learners using a mobile phone.

4 – Check with your learners that they have received your PDF file and are able to open it.

5 –  Give students instructions for the reading activity to do individually or in groups in the Breakout Rooms.

See the file below for an example of how this method was used in an online class.

Student Reading Handout

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