March 2009

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), Build-a-Sentence, Word Meanings Rude Readers 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).

In this issue -

  1. New eLr Materials
  2. Build-a-Sentence - new version
  3. Other Independent Developers
  4. Free Downloads
  5. ELR 2009 Calendar

  1. New eLr Materials

    This month's tasks are 80 further additions to the "Most frequent words" section in "Reading and Spelling". This section starts with the "first 100 words" and we've been progressively adding more words, "second 100", "third 100" etc. This month it's the "fifth 100" and "sixth 100" which will enable you to provide graded practice over more than 65-70% of all general English words used in reading and writing. Encouraging students to become more automatic in their ability to read and spell these words increases fluency and their confidence. The development of reading and spelling requires a range of skills. These include:

    • * letter knowledge, ie knowing the names and sounds of letters
    • * aspects of phonological and phonemic awareness, eg knowledge of letter sound relationships, knowing how to break words into sounds, and blend sounds to make a word
    • * knowledge of word meanings. This is a very broad based language skill that enables the student to understand what they have read (reading comprehension).
    • * being able to automatically recognize words to enable fluency in reading. This skill comes about in a couple of ways. Once the student can decode words, they become more familiar with the words and can quickly recognize them. Another way this skill can be developed is by completing activities that contain words that are frequently used. And this is where the "Most frequent words" section in eLr may be of assistance.

    The models in these sections encourage reading and spelling. The LookThenCover model is a good one to start with, as it introduces each word. WordSearch, MemoryWords and ConnectWords are good to encourage quick decoding, and SmileyMan reinforces spelling skills. All eLr tasks are designed to be completed in an interactive session. This enables you to talk about the words, discuss meanings and put the words into sentences. This encourages expressive language and comprehension skills as the client explains and explores the meanings of each word.

  2. Build-a-Sentence - new version

    We have released version of Build-a-Sentence. This fixes a few small bugs and in particular puts in place a re-worked registration mechanism. We had become aware that a few users were having trouble making the registration details that they entered "stick". Each time they opened the program it asked again for their registration details. This occurred only on some computers and seems to have something to do with security settings, especially on Windows Vista.

    The new registration mechanism has worked on all versions of Windows and all computers we've been able to test, including Vista and several computers which had previously reported a problem (thanks to those people for working with us). If you've had this difficulty, or have a client using Build-a-Sentence who's had the problem, please contact us for help in getting the new version.

    For those not familiar with Build-a-Sentence, it is an interactive program with spoken prompts designed to strengthen labelling of nouns, verbs, and objects, and production of 2 & 3 part sentences. It is quite separate from eLr and is a collaborative development between ourselves and Sydney speech pathologists Helen Goltzoff and Virginia Long. More information and a free trial is available at http://www.elr.com.au/sentence

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. ELR 2009 Calendar

    ELR Software is now able to offer eLr support and short tutorials over the web. We can provide this sort of support to individuals, or to groups who would like to have an overview of eLr. Please contact us for details.

Subscribing/Unsubscribing to this Newsletter

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

Copyright ©2009 ELR Software Pty Ltd

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