February 2015

Newsletter of ELR Software Pty Ltd

ABN 67 090 738 702
Web: http://www.elr.com.au
Email: news@elr.com.au
Follow: @ELRsoftware

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. Looking back on 2014
  3. Other Independent Developers
  4. Free Downloads
  5. ELR 2015 Calendar

  1. New eLr Materials

    The February 2015 edition contains thirty-six new tasks which have been added to the "Vowel Sounds" subsection in "Phonology - Skills and Early Sounds". All activities use the MouthSounds model and are designed to support the accurate production of short vowel sounds in syllables (consonant-vowel, and vowel-consonant syllables). There are six subsections, one for each of the short vowel sounds: /a/ as in hat, /e/ as in bed, /i/ as in pig, /o/ as in log, /u/ as in bug, and /oo/ as in book. For each vowel sound there are six tasks organised according to difficulty level. Three tasks target production of consonant-vowel syllables: one with high contrast consonants such as /pa, ta, ka, fa/ (as it is easier to see the difference between these consonants), one with low contrast consonants such as /ma pa/, /sa sha cha/ (more difficult to detect a difference), and one with voice contrast such as /pa ba/ and /ta da/. In a similar way, three tasks target vowel-consonant syllables.

    As with most eLr tasks, the role of the clinician or support person is central, to listen to the learner's production, provide feedback about accuracy and reinforce appropriate teaching strategies. An assessment by a speech pathologist is recommended prior to the introduction of activities in the Phonology sections. This provides a detailed diagnosis of the speech production difficulty and formation of appropriate intervention strategies.

  2. Looking back on 2014

    With the start of the new year, here is a brief review of 2014 to highlight our achievements. These include the addition of new materials, the development of the eLr MouthSounds Spelling Chart, and the release of the Word Meanings App.

    During 2014 nearly 300 new tasks were added to the eLr Directory in areas targeting reading, spelling, phonological awareness, and use of speech sounds (expressive phonology). This brings the total number of tasks in eLr to over 12,300.

    The eLr Directory covers a wide range of areas to support speech, language and literacy development. The major sections in The Directory are:

    1. Phonology - Skills and Early Sounds: targets accurate use of speech sounds (the early developing consonants /p, b, t, d m, n, ng, w, h/ and vowels), auditory discrimination, and phonological processes.
    2. Phonology - Later Sounds: targets accurate production of the later developing consonant sounds /k, g, f, v, s, z, sh, zh, ch, dge, y, l, r, th/, and blends with /s/, /l/ and /r/.
    3. Phonological Awareness: contains subsections targeting knowledge of letters and sounds, rhyme, identification of initial/final/medial sounds in words, blending and segmenting words.
    4. Reading and Spelling: provides materials to develop decoding (sounding out and blending to read words), development of sight words, knowledge of the letter-sound relationships of English, segmenting multi-syllabic words, and spelling of plurals, verb tense endings, homophones and homographs.
    5. Semantics: provides materials to develop vocabulary, word retrieval, categorisation, complex instructions, picture associations (which ones 'go together', which one doesn't belong) and word associations (synonyms, antonyms, object/user, part/whole).
    6. Sentence Processing: targets knowledge and use of pronouns, possessives and verb tense endings; and construction of single and multi-clause sentences.
    7. Using Language: contains materials to develop expressive language using tasks involving picture sequencing (familiar routines and narrative stories), detecting and explaining "what's wrong" in a picture, describing similarities and differences, processing "wh" questions (who, what doing, what, where), problem solving and inferencing.

    Most sections in the Directory contain a range of picture and word based activities organised according to level of difficulty. This means that most target areas contain material to support speech, language and literacy for both adults and children. As eLr is now quite an extensive resource, the "User Guides" section is a useful way to get an overview of each of the seven major sections, and to view example activities.

    The eLr MouthSounds Spelling Chart was developed (downloadable as a PDF from the eLr support area). The aim of this chart is to depict the sounds of English in a structured and visual way to highlight 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. There are two key features of the eLr MouthSounds Spelling Chart. First, the sounds are organised to show the consistencies between English sounds. For example, the relationships between consonant sounds are made clear by grouping according to place of production (where the sound is made, eg at the front of the mouth with lips for the /p/ sound), the manner (how it is produced, eg stopped for /p/ or continuous for /f/), and whether voice is used (eg no voice for /p/, voice for /b/). Similarly, the vowel sounds are grouped according to show the three types of vowels: short, long and dipthong vowel sounds.

    The second feature is that each sound is represented by the newly developed eLr Mouthsounds (a graphic depiction of each sound), the most common spellings of each sound, and the phonetic symbol for that sound. As such, the eLr MouthSounds Spelling Chart has been designed to assist the learner to accurately identify sounds in words, and further, to support their learning of the spelling of any particular sound.

    An iPad App version of "Word Meanings" was also released early in 2014. This is a separate,joint development between ELR Software and Words Work, and is based on the therapy manual many of you will know, called "Building Language: Word Meanings" by Robyn Dower and Jan Mackey, Helios Art and Book Co, 1996. This App covers Picture Meanings, Spoken Word - Picture Links, and Written Word - Picture Links and provides a personal iPad version of the computerized Windows program which has been available for some years. "Word Meanings for iPad" is an interactive language therapy program targeted particularly at adult aphasia and grounded in the theory of cognitive neuropsychology and the neuroscience of neuroplasticity. The App uses natural voice instructions and responses, and is designed to build understanding and recall of words by strengthening semantic processing. It enables repeated practice and the opportunity for reinforcement of word meanings at an error-free level. You can find this App by searching the App Store for "Word Meanings". If you'd like to publish a professional review of the App we can provide a "promo code" for free access. Please contact us for further details, or for the book, Windows CD and related products, view the Words Work website at www.buildinglanguage.com.au.

    The ELR Software team thanks all of our subscribers who provide valuable feedback and offer ideas for further developments. During the 2014 Speech Pathology Australia conference in Melbourne we caught up with many of you, and we look forward to seeing you again at the 2015 conference in Canberra.

  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 2015 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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