May 2014

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 and Updated eLr Materials
  2. Other Independent Developers
  3. Free Downloads
  4. ELR 2014 Calendar

  1. New and Updated eLr Materials

    New Materials - eLr MouthSounds Spelling Chart

    This month we have added new content outside of the eLr Directory structure - the eLr MouthSounds Spelling Chart which you can download as a PDF from the eLr support area, or contact us if you'd like to be emailed a copy. The aim of this chart is to depict the sounds of English in a structured and visual way that highlights the relationship between each sound and its most common spelling patterns. It may be used as an aid in therapy for phonological processing, articulation, reading and spelling. The concepts underlying the chart will be progressively integrated into appropriate existing and new eLr tasks over the coming months.

    The primary division of the chart is into consonant and vowel sounds. Consonants are defined as speech sounds in which the manner of production requires a varying degree of constriction of the vocal tract. For example, the /p/ sound has total constriction in which the lips block and then release the sound in an abrupt way, while the /s/ sound is partially restricted by the teeth and flows continuously. Vowels on the other hand, are not restricted - the voice flows freely out of the mouth and the lips and tongue vary in shape to modify the sound.

    The chart utilizes a new symbol set we've created called eLr Mouthsounds which depicts the three main production features of each sound (place, manner, and voice) as well as its phonetic symbol.

    As you can see, any sound can be described according to each of the three features. For example, the /p/ sound is "bi-labial", "stopped", but "not voiced".

    In our chart, the consonant sounds are grouped to reveal the three features of sound production: manner (short and long), place and voice. The vowel sounds are organised according to the type of vowel: short, long and diphthong vowels:

    The eLr MouthSounds Spelling Chart is designed to assist the learner to accurately identify sounds in words, and further, to support their learning of the spelling of any particular sound. For example, when sounding out "pay", the learner needs to articulate the first sound /p/ as a short sound without voice, and so spelt with "p". And when articulating the vowel /ay/, accurate articulation enables the learner to identify the vowel as a diphthong and to choose from the spelling patterns that most commonly spell that sound (in this case "ay").

    This is the first published version of this chart, though it has been presented at some of our workshops, and has been evolving in our clinical practice since 2002! The mouth symbols in the eLr Mouthsounds have been drawn to be instructive, rather than anatomically accurate, and to visually represent the place of sound production. This is tricky for some sounds, such as /k/, /g/, /ng/ (as these sounds involve the back of the tongue which is usually not visible). So, as with all of our new materials, we welcome feedback about the the chart and symbols.

    Updated tasks

    One hundred and fifty-one tasks have been updated in "Phonological Awareness" (in "Initial/Final consonants - Sound/letter matching", and "Initial/Final Blends") to include the new eLr Mouthsounds. These tasks involve the PicTextMatch model and provide material to teach identification of sounds at the beginning and ends of words. This model displays a picture on the screen and encourages the learner to name the first or last sound(s).

    For some children this task is difficult as they may not understand the concept of "first/last sound". These activities simplify the requirements of the task by providing the child with a choice of two to four options. For example, the child sees a picture of "pig" and is asked "what is the first sound". The child is presented with a choice of /p/, /t/ or /m/, thus reducing the demands and decreasing the likelihood of guessing. The addition of eLr Mouthsounds means the child can now "see" the mouth shapes, as well as the spelling of the sound. The linking of phonemic awareness and letter knowledge has been shown in research to support reading and spelling development.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. ELR 2014 Calendar

    ELR Software is also able to offer free 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-a-Sentence or EIA. To subscribe or unsubscribe, send an e-mail with details to news@elr.com.au

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