ELR Software Pty Ltd
eLr - What's New 2003
We have continued the review of the Phonemic Awareness section. The focus this month is Rhyming (Rhyme Identification, Odd One Out and Word Generation). There are a total of 39 new tasks.
In Odd One Out, we have replaced the existing 4 tasks with 18 new tasks using the Multipic Slideshow model. Task complexity has been controlled in two ways. In some tasks the vocabulary is "common" which means they are easy to name, and in other tasks the vocabulary is "less common". A second level of difficulty has been used. In some tasks the difference between the rhyming words and the "odd one out" is a "high contrast" word, and in others it is "low contrast", making those tasks more difficult.
Nine new tasks have been added to the Rhyme Identification subsection. These nine tasks contain words which are "low contrast", which means they are more difficult than the high contrast tasks that are currently in that section. This provide clients with a more challenging rhyme judgement activity.
In the "Word Generation" subsection, there are now 12 tasks which replace the existing 3 tasks. In this section the client is provided with either one or two rhyming words, and they are asked to generate more words which rhyme. The task names allow you to choose whether you work on words which contain long or short vowels, diphthongs, or a task with mixed vowels.
We've been reviewing Phonology - Later Sounds to ensure that there is a consistent range of tasks for all sound targets. This month, 88 new tasks (25 PicCards, 26 Slide show and 37 TicTacPics) have been added to sounds where we'd not previously had these models.
There have also been 8 new tasks added to Phonemic Awareness (Sound Letter Links, and Sounds in Words Sections). Previously, there were only 2 tasks containing words with 3 sounds (one task had /at/ words, and the other had /un/ words). Now, there are 6 tasks in each section containing words with 3 sounds, and 4 of these have assorted vowels. This will enable you to provide a greater range of practice for children at the early stages of developing segmenting skills.
Thanks to those people who have emailed with suggestions for changes like these. We had a also few errors in some of the vocabulary in sections like /th/, and /ch/. It's amazing how these errors creep in. For example, it was pointed out the the word "picture" is actually a medial /ch/ blend, and not a /ch/ medial word. We are grateful for the feedback, so if you come across words that you feel don't belong in certain areas, feel free to email us.
"What's New" is a log of additions and major changes as they occur in eLr. This feature will be useful especially for those subscribers who primarily use eLr-Offline. When you get your 6 monthly update, you will now be able to quickly see all that has changed in the last 6 months.
Each month we add new tasks to the eLr Directory, and sometimes there are also new features or changes to existing tasks, or the way parts of the program operate. This newsletter (ELR-News) will continue to highlight this information, while "What's New" provides an easily accessed, complete archive of changes back to when eLr was launched in February 2000. Links to "What's New" are present both on the eLr Home Page, and in the Support section. See www.elr.com.au/support/changes.htm.
The eLr Quick Loader is located beneath the eLr Directory on the "Registered Users - Loader Page". The original aim of this function was to allow users to more quickly load tasks that they had previously identified as being useful for a specific goal. When eLr was launched in February 2000, access was only by the web and this method minimized the length of an internet connection.
In 2000-2001 we investigated the efficiency and reliability of internet delivery, as well as the impact of eLr on delivery of Speech Pathology services (results were presented at the Speech Pathology Australia Conference in Melbourne in 2001 Internet based Delivery of Speech Pathology Resource Materials). Subsequently we developed the CD based version called eLr-Offline which allows subscribers to install eLr onto their computers, or use it directly from the CD, if internet connection is poor or unavailable.
Although the demand for the Quick Loader is maybe now reduced, a few clinicians have reported that having written task numbers onto the home program sheets (Program Goals Guest Access), they later find it difficult to remember from which section they selected the tasks. Rather than add a further facility to eLr, we've modified the Quick Loader to perform both functions:
This change should greatly improve your ability to retrieve any information regarding the programs you have provided for your clients. Comments welcome as always.
The review of the Phonemic Awareness section has continued this month, with changes and new tasks being added to two subsections in "Final Consonants" - "Ends the the Same Sound" and "Odd one out". Where there were previously 8 tasks, there are now 60 tasks.
The "MultiPic Slideshow" model has been used. This model displays 3 pictures on the screen and the client is instructed to say each word, then select the words that end with the same sound, or the word that ends with a different sound (odd one out). The client is reinforced when the correct response occurs with the picture being highlighted in red. The task name indicates the degree of difficulty. For example, "high contrast long sounds" are easier than "low contrast short sounds". "High contrast" means the sounds are visually quite different (eg /s/ and /m/) because the sounds are made with different articulators. Whereas "Low contrast" sounds look more similar (eg /n/ and /l/), as they are both made with the tongue in the same position.
We have started a review of Phonemic Awareness. This month, the subsections Initial Consonants, Sound Letter Links in Words, and Sounds in Words have had new tasks added, and changes to the existing tasks. In total, there are now 124 tasks where there were previously 48.
When eLr was first launched in February 2000, one of the first sections to be completed was Phonemic Awareness. Over the past 2 years, my own experience, and feedback from registered users, has indicated that improvements would occur if there were more tasks within each section. Also, some of the pictures were not easily identified (especially as these tasks are used without the printed word under the picture). So, an "overhaul" seemed in order.
In Sound Letter Links in Words - With Sound Letter Correspondence - pictorial there are now 11 tasks (there were 9). Four of the tasks remain the same, and there are 7 new tasks - some replacements and some new. In the next subsection, Without Sound Letter Correspondence - pictorial, there are now 23 tasks which replace the previous 8 tasks. The task names help you select the appropriate task for your client, as they have been named as either containing "concrete" pictures, or "abstract".
These same changes have occurred in the Sounds in Words subsection. Where there were a total of 17 tasks, there are now 34 tasks. This subsection mirrors Sound Letter Links in Words, but does not use letters to reinforce correct selection. This is useful for clients who are not ready to be presented with letters as reinforcement when sounding out a word.
Each of the above new tasks now contains 10 items, where previously there were 9. So overall, the section now provides more practice items, and the stimulus pictures are controlled for their concreteness (or ability to be easily named).
Two subsections in Initial Consonants have also been substantially expanded and improved. In Starts with the Same Sound subsection, the 8 tasks which use the MultiPic Slideshow model have been replaced with 29 new tasks. Likewise the 6 MultiPic Slideshow tasks in Odd one Out have been replaced with 29 new tasks. The tasks are graded for level of difficulty, and the task names reflect the content of each task. For example, tasks with "high contrast long sounds" are easiest, and those with "low contrast short sounds" would be the most difficult.
We hope these changes are beneficial to users. Please feel free to email and comment on these revised tasks.
This month we have added 260 new tasks to "Phonology - Skills and Early Sounds". In the last couple of months we have been adding the early sounds to phonology. So this month the new sounds are the /m, n, ng, h, w/ sounds. The sub-sections follow a similar format to "Phonology - Later Sounds" (eg Initial, Medial, Final position etc).
We have used the PicCards, Slide show, TicTacPic, MemoryPics, MouthSounds and SpinPic models. This enables you to use a variety of activities when practising the production of sounds in words, eg naming the picture, playing memory games, tic tac toe, or using a game with a spinner and game board. All of the activities are suitable for the paediatric population, while with adults the best models would be Slide show and PicCards (naming the picture), MouthSounds (producing CV or VC syllables), and some adults may enjoy memory games. The SpinPic model has also been added to the /p, b, t, d/ sounds (as these were not included in the previous edition).
There have been a few minor changes to some tasks to correct errors which have been brought to our attention. Some are spelling errors, but one of the tasks would have presented quite a perplexing situation! The client was to say the /v/ sound each time they saw a "van". However, there were no vans to be seen! This has now been corrected, so you can /v v v v v v v v/ to your hearts content.
We have also added a couple of picture based tasks to the /v/ sound (CVC) in Phonology. This was quite a difficult as there are not many /v/ CVC words which can be pictured.
This month we started adding the long-promised, early sounds (/p b t d m n ng w h/) to the "Phonology" section, which has been renamed "Phonology - Skills and Early Sounds". Along with Auditory discrimination and Phonological processes, this section will also eventually include further materials focussing on verbal dyspraxia. For consistency, "Phonology - Sound by Sound" has also been renamed to "Phonology - Later Sounds".
A total of 149 new tasks were added to the new Early sounds. The tasks relate to the /p b t d/ sounds, and follow a similar format to "Phonology - Later Sounds" (eg initial, medial, final position etc). We have used the PicCards, Slide Show, TicTacPic, MemoryPic, and MouthSounds models. There are a few gaps, and these will be filled next month - it wasn't possible to get all the subsections filled, due to our time out of the office!
We've also added a help screen to the demonstration "Quick Practice" model. This is a single task which may be found under the Example Cases on the "Demonstration" page (see www.elr.com.au/demo.htm). This page is mainly intended for new users to get a quick preview of the style of eLr tasks, but it's also useful to quickly test a particular computer/browser configuration for eLr compatibility (no need for registration, login etc). "Quick Practice" uses many of the core programming eLr modules, so if it works on your system, you should have no problems running eLr.
This month we have continued to add new tasks to the section which was opened in last month - "Syntactic Processing". As was mentioned in the last newsletter, it is in the early stages of development, so that currently, only a few subsections contain tasks.
There have been 80 new tasks added to "Syntactic Processing - Active Sentences (Noun + Verb + Noun + Prepositional Phrase)". The models are word based - "Typing With Phrases", and "Typing With Words". The variables which have been controlled for in the tasks are "concrete/ abstract", "regular/ irregular" verbs, verb argument structure, verb tense, and use of pronouns.
These models require the client to rearrange either phrases or words to make sentences. They have been designed to allow flexibility in the way they are used. For example, if a client needs full support, the target sentence can be displayed so that it can be completed as a word matching activity. As skills improve, the target sentence can be switched off, so that the client needs to comprehend word meanings in order to complete the task. In both models, the words can be "re-shuffled" enabling repetition of each item.
This month's edition of eLr contains a new section "Syntactic Processing" with 98 new tasks, and a new model called "Typing with Phrases".
"Syntactic Processing", is in the early stages of development. Currently there are only a couple of subsections with tasks. Over the coming 6 months, new models will be developed, and more subsections will be available. The current models are word based ones, but picture based models are also in preparation.
The aim of this section is to provide clinicians with materials to strengthen clients ability to process and verbally produce sentence length material. The tasks are suitable for clients with developmental language disorders, acquired language impairments, and literacy difficulties.
The preparation of these new materials has drawn on the literature relating to the cognitive neuropsychological model of language processing. Some of the references are noted below. The following variables have been controlled for in the tasks:
There are 98 new tasks within the Syntactic Processing Section. Two models have been used - "Typing with Words", and the new model, "Typing with Phrases". The tasks appear in "Single Clause Sentences". They are "Active" sentences, and are either "Subject+Verb", or "Subject+Verb+Prepositional Phrase".
The new model, "Typing with Phrases", is similar to "Typing with Words". A target sentence appears on the screen. Below it are buttons which break the sentence into parts (subject, verb, object etc). The client clicks the buttons to rearrange the sentence parts to make a correct sentence. The model is designed to be used within a therapy session, so that the clinician or helper provides feedback appropriate to the client's needs (eg reinforcement, expansion etc).
Clicking the "Re-shuffle" button rearranges the phrases enabling the client to redo the item a number of times. Unselecting Prompt, will remove the target sentence. This means the client has to independently understand the word meanings and decide how to rearrange the phrases without being provided with a visual prompt (ie it is not done as a matching exercise).
This month's edition of eLr contains new materials of a slightly different character than usual. Instead of adding new tasks, we have added a "Help" section to each of the 42 models. On the top right side of all task screens is now a [Help] button (with a question mark on it). Clicking this button shows/hides a "popup" box with 3 tabbed sections - Using this Model, Controls, and Tips.
Describes how the model operates, and outlines the way it is used in the different sections of eLr. For example, one model may be used in Phonemic Awareness and in Semantics, but have different goals in each of those sections.
Describes the function of each of the the small buttons, check boxes and option buttons at the top of each task screen. These perform such actions as changing the colors used, navigating between items in the same task, and setting tasks to random item sequences and so on.
This a section which provides the user with extra ideas on how to get the most out of each model. Since eLr was launched in February 2000, we have received considerable feedback from clinicians about how the models have been used, and the delivery modified, to provide clients with variation and expansion to language, literacy and speech goals. Our own clinical experience in using the materials has also given further ideas about what works well.
This new help system has been some time in development and still needs a bit more polishing in places. But we felt it best to let users start trying it as soon as it was functional. We always welcome feedback, so if after reading some of the information especially the Tips, you feel you have other ideas to add, please email or phone us.
Sixteen new tasks have been added to Reading and Spelling, in the subsections "Three Letter Words - assorted vowels" and "Four Letter Words - assorted vowels". These tasks are a continuation of the new materials which were added last month. The goal of the tasks is to strengthen the ability to decode words which look similar. The "PicTextMatch" model has been used. In this model, a picture appears on the screen, and the client chooses the word which matches the picture. Some of the tasks focus on the initial letter (eg pig rig fig), others on the final letter (eg map mat mad), and other tasks contrast initial, final and vowel sounds (eg dog dug dot hog). The tasks would be useful for clients with literacy difficulties, and also for clients with acquired language disorders who need to focus on the phonological aspects of written and spoken words.
30 new tasks have been added to Reading & Spelling, in the Three Letter Words and Four Letter Words subsections. The "PicTextMatch" model has been used. In this model a picture appears on the screen, and the client chooses which word matches the picture. The words are visually similar, so the tasks provide practice at decoding words which either start or end with the same letters. There is graded difficulty levels, with some tasks requiring a choice between 2 words and others between 4 words.
A total of 41 new tasks have been added to the eLr Directory. These are in Reading and Spelling - Syllabification. This section previously contained tasks with real words. There is now a new sub section which contains syllabification of non-words. Within the non-word classification, there are tasks for non-words with 2, 3, or 4 syllables. The tasks are graded in difficulty. For example, the first few tasks contain non-words with "closed" syllables (ie CVC). They then progress to non-words with "open" syllables, complex syllables (ie with consonant blends), and syllables with complex vowel patterns (eg igh), and prefixes and suffixes.
We welcome any comments on these non-words. It's quite a feat to work out so many words that don't make sense. So if you feel some of them could be improved, it'd be great to hear from you.
Copyright ©2003 ELR Software Pty Ltd