January 2005

Newsletter of ELR Software Pty Ltd

ABN 67 090 738 702

ELR Software produces a range of computer programs designed by speech pathologists for speech, language & literacy intervention. Our programs may be used interactively within therapy sessions, to increase efficiency in service delivery, and to improve access to the Internet for people with special needs. We are also available as consultants to clinicians and research projects in the fields of literacy and accessibility issues associated with the Internet.

The aim of this newsletter is to inform you of developments and changes to our major products eLr (Extra Language Resources), Rude Readers, Word Meanings and EIA (Enhancing Internet Access). We welcome the opportunity for feedback and questions, and will be pleased to consider including reader contributions and announcements.

This Newsletter (and previous editions) is available online at www.elr.com.au/news and an email version is sent monthly to members of our mailing list (See Subscribing/Unsubscribing).

Season's Greetings, and we wish you all a safe and happy new year. And special thanks to all to have provided us feedback - always helpful!

In this issue -

  1. Looking Back on 2004
  2. New! eLr Affiliate Subscriptions
  3. New and Changed eLr Materials
  4. Feather Weather - Featured Rude Reader
  5. Free Downloads
  6. ELR 2005 Calendar

  1. Looking Back on 2004

    Every year seems busy, and this year was no different. Our small team at ELR Software has been involved in a range of activities, including software design for research projects, provision of clinical services, working on new speech pathology computer programs, and adding new materials to eLr.

    eLr remains our main focus. Since the launch in 2000, with about 1,600 tasks, we've added new materials each month, and revised several sections. There are now 6,667 tasks covering more than 680 different speech, language and literacy targets. In 2004 we added 772 tasks. Some of the areas we worked on include:

    1. Sentence Processing - added picture based tasks, activities which focus on passive sentences, and materials to increase flexibility of sentence production in the "Using Phrases" subsection.
    2. Phonology Early Skills and Sounds - added a section for discrimination of vowel sounds
    3. Reading and Spelling - added tasks involving the "200 Most Frequent Words"
    4. Phonemic Awareness - revised some of the sections, and added materials to strengthen the client's knowledge of the relationship between sounds and letters.
    5. Using Language - this is a new section. It has included "Sequences", and will expand this coming year to include materials which target "What's Different", "What's Missing" and "What's Wrong".
    6. Clinicians Toolbox - this area contains materials which enable clinicians to "make your own" tasks. We added a tool which allows you to make Word Searches containing your own target words. Other useful materials in this section include board games, scenes which can be used for barrier games, sticker boards, glue and paste activities, or stimulus pictures.

    Our continuing aim for eLr is to provide a resource which contains a comprehensive range of useful materials which may be used as part of speech pathology sessions. The activities are designed to allow modification for individual needs, and to encourage active participation by the client.

    We appreciate the feedback we receive from subscribers. This has included suggestions for new materials, letting us know of any errors that have slipped through our quality check, and lots of positive comments about the usefulness of eLr as a clinical tool. Comments have highlighted how eLr has decreased preparation time, streamlines provision of home and school practice, and provides motivating activities for clients.

    Thank you very much for your support, and we wish you all the best for 2005.

  2. New! eLr Affiliate Subscriptions

    Have you ever wanted a CD version of eLr that you clients can use on their computers, without the need to use an internet connection? In response to a number of requests like this over the last couple of years, we've developed an "Affiliate" form of eLr subscription. This provides CD only access to a standard eLr-Offline CD, and is available only to Professional Subscribers for distribution to their clients (individuals, families or schools). More information about the licence entitlements for Affiliate subscriptions, and the comparisons with existing eLr licences may be found at www.elr.com.au/support/elr_matrix.htm.

    Next month we'll cover in more detail the mechanism, pricing, bulk discounts etc for this new product. In the meantime, if you have any comments or questions about your needs to provide additional eLr access to your clients, while staying within the licence agreements, please contact us.

  3. New and Changed eLr Materials

    The focus for this month has been Phonemic Awareness - Initial Consonants. We have revised 10 tasks and added 31 new tasks in a new subsection called "Sound Letter Matching". These additions and changes are similar to those we completed for Final Consonants a couple of months ago.

    The "Initial Consonants" and the "Final Consonants" sections in Phonemic Awareness provide material to strengthen the client's ability to process initial and final sounds in words, ie to name the sound, to detect which words start or end with the same sound, to identify which word starts or ends with a different sound ("Odd-One-Out"), and to generate a list of words that start or end with the same sound.

    These new tasks use a model (PicTextMatch), which strengthens the client's knowledge of the relationship between sound and letter. The client names the picture, identifies the initial or final sound, and then selects the letter/s which represent the sounds. The tasks are graded in difficulty in the following ways:

    1. The subsection is divided into low level or easier tasks, and higher level or more difficult tasks. The low level tasks contain sounds which have a high contrast and are therefore easier to discriminate. For example, /m/ and /s/ are distinctly different: The /m/ sound uses the lips and is a nasal sound, and the /s/ sound uses the teeth and is sibilant. The higher level tasks contain sounds which have a low contrast. For example, the /s/ sound and the /sh/ sound are more similar in their production, and are therefore more difficult to discriminate.
    2. The tasks require the client to identify long or short sounds, or a combination of long and short sounds. The tasks with long sounds are generally easier because long sounds are more readily identified.
    3. The choice of letter/s (graphemes) varies in difficulty. The easier tasks require the client to choose between two letters which are visually very different. Tasks become more difficult with an increasing number of choices, ie 2, 3 or 4, and in the most difficult tasks the letters may be visually similar (eg "m, n", or "p, b").

    This month, the tasks with long sounds have been completed. Next month tasks with short sounds will be added to this section.

  4. Feather Weather - Featured Rude Reader

    Feather Weather (Volume 4) practises /th/ sounds in a six-line rhyme with a regular beat in the connected utterance. It has seven verses of rhymes about how to use a feather to cope with different weather - boiling, chilly, foggy, rainy, windy and thundery. The silly advice is given in two sentences which keep the same syntactic structure "In boiling weather/Hold a feather/Just between your toes/Then wave it back and forth/And send a cool breeze/Up your nose." Syntax is up to LARSP Stage V with connectivity structures (and, but, or else, then), and complex sentences. There are 18 /th/ sounds carried by nouns, verbs and prepositions. Where possible an /f/ sound is slipped into the text or into a word - feather, froth, flutter, freezing, flap, fear - just to make things difficult. In the end the child gets to hug mum. There's nothing rude about this reader - it's just silly in a sensible way.

  5. Free Downloads

    ELR has a number of free or evaluation files available for downloading directly from our website. Please see www.elr.com.au/downloads.htm for specific details. For other supporting materials and documents available for free download, please see www.elr.com.au/support.htm.

  6. ELR 2005 Calendar

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Copyright ©2005 ELR Software Pty Ltd

Postal ELR Software Pty Ltd
PO Box 1456
VIC 3875, Australia
(03) 5156 8309
1800 018 309
+61 3 5156 8309
(03) 5156 8609
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