January 2007

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) as well as a "print-ready" PDF version of the current edition is available online at www.elr.com.au/news. An email version is also 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. Another year for eLr!
  2. New eLr Materials
  3. eLr Workshops in Canada and the UK
  4. ReadingDoctor Software (by LearningScience Pty Ltd)
  5. Other Independent Developers
  6. Free Downloads
  7. ELR 2007 Calendar

  1. Another year for eLr!

    The January newsletter often prompts a quick reflection. Here are a few interesting comments on eLr milestones for those who are new to eLr and also for those who have followed the development over the past 7 years.

    Our goal remains to develop a resource that would cater to the needs of clinicians and clients who are focusing on speech, language, and literacy targets. The needs are wide and include things like -

    We have made improvements in all of these areas, so that eLr grows in value to you and your clients.

    eLr was launched in Feb 2000 with 1600 tasks, and it now contains over 8,000. This represents a growth not only in the number of tasks, but also in the range of targets or goals that it now covers. It would now take over 16 packs of photocopy paper if you were to match this with traditional printed materials! In it's early days, eLr covered the main sections of "Phonology" "Phonological Awareness" "Semantics" and "Reading and Spelling". With the addition of "Using Language" and "Sentence Processing" it now provides activities that allow you to work on basic skill areas, as well as generalization into oral narrative and functional language use.

    In 2006 another 958 tasks, 5 new subsections, and 3 new models were added. Some of the new subsections were "MultiClause Sentences" (allowing practice of flexible language use with conjunctions), "What's Missing" (using specific language), and "Blending Sounds to Make a Word" (listening and blending in phonological awareness).

    We've had good feedback about the new models. ConnectWords has been a hit. It's a game that caters well for clients in the middle and upper primary, as well as those of us who like a bit of a challenge. I recall visiting a school, and while I was working with the client, his aide was busily completing a ConnectWords to prove to me that she could "beat the computer"!!... and she did! Activities that provide such fun for a wide age range promote active engagement and learning.

    We still have many thoughts, ideas, plans for eLr - and it always seems there's not enough time to do them. But each month, we attempt to make an impression on the "to do" list. Your feedback in this process is exceptionally valuable. So always feel free to email or phone us with your suggestions, "wish list", or whatever other feedback you'd like to give us.

    We thank you all for your support, and wish you the best for 2007.

  2. New eLr Materials

    This month 29 new tasks have been added to "Semantics - Associations - Other Associations". These tasks were prompted by the improvements which were made to the PicPairs model last month. This model was one of the very early ones that we developed and it had limitations in its scope. With the improvements, it provides for more items within each task, and more importantly, much greater visual impact for clients who are needing to detect relationships between objects and concepts.

    The improved PicPairs model displays two columns of "thumbnail" pictures; the client selects a picture from the left hand column, and then chooses the related picture from the right hand column. Correct responses are reinforced by the two related pictures being increased in size and moved together to the middle of the screen. An additional reinforcement for correct response is that the caption highlights red. With the placement of the pictures together in the centre of the screen, the relationship becomes more concrete. The task can be modified to suit client needs by having the items displayed as pictures only, picture plus words, or words only.

    As with all eLr tasks extensions are encouraged. In the case of the new tasks the client may be encouraged to use specific language to explain the relationships, strengthen receptive and expressive vocabulary by discussing each of the items ("what category do they belong to", "tell me more things in this category" etc) and strengthen oral narrative ("where and how the item is used").

  3. eLr Workshops in Canada and the UK

    Plans are well underway for an overseas trip this year to Canada and the UK. We have a number of overseas subscribers, and have had positive feedback, and requests for training, particularly from the UK. So April will see us at the Canadian Speech Pathology Conference in Moncton, New Brunswick, and in May we will be meeting with groups of speech pathologists in the UK.

    Feel free to contact us if you are a clinician or a member of staff at a school in Canada or the UK. We may be able to offer a free introductory workshop to a group in your area.

  4. ReadingDoctor Software (by LearningScience Pty Ltd)

    This month we're pleased to let you know of ReadingDoctor Software at www.readingdoctor.com.au created by independent developer Bartek Rajkowski - a Speech Pathologist who specializes in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of literacy difficulties. The software design is based on Bartek's clinical experience, and on research into the underlying deficit in dyslexia and the mechanisms of literacy acquisition.

    ReadingDoctor Software is a unique, self-adjusting visual/auditory/articulatory mnemonic system that identifies and strengthens areas of weakness in order to:

    1. Establish and strengthen letter-sound relationship knowledge (including single letter sounds, consonant blends, consonant digraphs, vowel digraphs, diphthongs and other common graphemes, as well as common prefixes and suffixes)
    2. Teach and improve phonological awareness skills such as blending and segmentation (using the patterns taught in the letter-sound relationship building exercises)
    3. Establish and strengthen a sight-word vocabulary of the most common irregularly spelt sight words
    4. Teach common sound/spelling rules (such as the 'magic e' rule)
    5. Improve auditory discrimination skills
    6. Improve visual discrimination skills
    7. Improve vocabulary

    This software allows clinicians to:

    1. Quickly customize activities based on specific criteria (eg creating a blending activity which contrasts CVC words with 'b' and 'd' at the beginning, or a segmentation activity in which only CCVC words containing 'st', 'sp' and 'sl' are included, or an auditory discrimination activity in which only pictures depicting words starting with /k/ or /t/ are included)
    2. Print flashcards of all included targets, with or without visual mnemonics to support successful recognition
    3. Use a sophisticated testing facility to test and record the accuracy and reaction times of students using the software to establish progress levels and determine areas of weakness
    4. Provide activities for use by clients at home

  5. Other Independent Developers

    As an occasional feature of this Newsletter, we include simple, unpaid announcements of products developed by other small, independent developers, who, like ourselves, are practising clinicians who have put their ideas and experience into resource materials for general distribution. Links and brief information about these sites may be found at www.elr.com.au/links/developers.htm. To date we have listed -

    If you would like your materials listed on this page (at no charge), please contact us.

  6. 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.

  7. ELR 2007 Calendar

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You are receiving ELR-News because you are an eLr subscriber, or have expressed an interest in either eLr, Rude Readers, Word Meanings or EIA. To subscribe or unsubscribe, send an e-mail with details to news@elr.com.au

Copyright ©2007 ELR Software Pty Ltd

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