March 2017

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. Updated eLr Materials
  2. Using eLr Decoding Tasks Within a Synthetic Phonics Approach
  3. Changes to eLr Subscriptions
  4. DictionaryWords - Free Online Access
  5. Other Independent Developers
  6. Free Downloads
  7. ELR 2017 Calendar

  1. Updated eLr Materials

    This month we continued our effort to revise all tasks which contain non-words so that all non-words used in eLr are "legal" (see ELR-News Feb 2017 for a discussion on the use of non-words and an explanation of what is meant by "legal"). Thirty-one tasks were updated in four sections of "Reading and Spelling": "Short vowel sounds - 3 letter words", "Short vowel sounds - longer words", "Consonant digraphs", and "The "e" rule".

    All of these updated tasks use the MultiWord Slideshow model. Four items (one real word and three non-words) are depicted on the screen. The learner is encouraged to decode each item (sound out and blend to read) and identify the real word. As in all eLr tasks the role of the instructor (clinician, parent, teacher) is critical. In this case, the instructor ensures accurate decoding has occurred and that the learner understands the meaning of the word, for example, by using the word in a sentence, and encouraging discussion about any background information which expands the learner's comprehension of the word meaning.

  2. Using eLr Decoding Tasks Within a Synthetic Phonics Approach

    The aim of many eLr "Reading and Spelling" tasks for the early stages of reading development is to teach sounding out and blending for reading, and breaking words into sounds for spelling. Such activities are consistent with the synthetic phonics approach to reading instruction.

    While most children learn to read using a range of approaches, many studies have shown that children who are at risk of experiencing reading difficulty achieve greater success with synthetic phonics instruction (Johnston, McGeown, & Watson, 2012; Johnston & Watson, 2005; Hempenstall, 2016; Rose, 2006). There are two broad phonics approaches in early reading instruction: synthetic phonics and analytic phonics. Using synthetic phonics the learner is taught sound-letter relationships (grapheme-phoneme correspondences) and how to blend the sounds (synthesis) to read a word; whereas analytic phonics involves the initial teaching of sight words, and when reading, to take note of the first letter and break the word into parts (analysis), for example, breaking "ring" into "r-ing".

    A synthetic phonics approach is consistent with theories of learning to read which are well supported in the research literature. Ehri's phase theory of word reading development (Ehri, 2005) describes four phases. Initially the learner recognises whole words which are context dependent eg "exit", "zoo" (pre-alphabetic). This is followed by early learning of letter-sound knowledge (partial alphabetic), leading to the ability to accurately sound out and blend to read (full alphabetic), and finally to the establishment of a large bank of sight words (consolidated). Sight words are defined as words which are automatically recognised, understood, and spoken.

    Share's phonological recoding theory (Share, 1999) more specifically describes the process which allows the progression through these phases of early reading development. The phonological recoding theory is supported by many studies which have shown that accurate phonological recoding (sounding out and blending) leads to formation of clear mental images of words (orthographic representations) which are an essential part of sight word development.

    The use of eLr tasks may be a useful adjunct to early reading instruction because, with the support of the instructor, they target two key aspects: encouraging the learner to accurately sound out and blend to read words, and discussion of the meaning and usage of the words.

    • Ehri, L C (2005). Learning to read words: Theory, findings, and issues. Scientific Studies of Reading, 9(2), 167-188.
    • Hempenstall, K (2016). "Read About It: Scientific Evidence for Effective Teaching of Reading", Research Report, March 2016, Centre for Independent Studies Australia
    • Johnston, R, McGeown, S & Watson, J E (2012). Long-term effects of synthetic versus analytic phonics teaching on the reading and spelling ability of 10 year old boys and girls. Reading and Writing, 25(6), 1365-1384
    • Johnston, R & Watson, J (2005). The Effects of Synthetic Phonics Teaching on Reading and Spelling Attainment. Insight 17. Retrieved from http://www.scotland.gov.uk/library5/education/ins17-00.asp website
    • Rose, J (2006). "Identifying and Teaching Children and Young People with Dyslexia and Literacy Difficulties". An independent report from Sir Jim Rose to the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, June 2009, UK
    • Share, D L (1999). Phonological Recoding and Orthographic Learning: A Direct Test of the Self-Teaching Hypothesis. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 72(2), 95-129
  3. Changes to eLr Subscriptions

    From January 1st 2017 we have made 2 changes to our subscription processes which will affect eLr subscribers.

    1. eLr-Offline for Windows will be provided on a USB key, instead of a CD, as many modern computers no longer even have a CD drive. The content of this installation USB key will be essentially unchanged. If you absolutely need a CD version, please contact us.
    2. We are phasing in a small charge for the physical version of eLr-Offline for Windows (the USB key). eLr subscriptions for all subscribers will continue to include unlimited web access for the subscriber and their clients, as well as eLr-Offline (free iPad and Windows versions which allow access to eLr without needing internet connection).
      1. New subscribers from Jan 1st 2017 will be able to obtain their free Windows version of eLr by internet download from our website www.elr.com.au/offline, or purchase a physical version (USB key) which will cost an extra $30 per copy.
      2. Existing subscribers will continue to receive the free physical version (USB key) at no extra cost for 12 months following their latest subscription renewal. They can also, of course, download the internet version if and when they wish.

    If you have any questions about these changes and their implementation, please contact us.

  4. DictionaryWords - Free Online Access

    We gave a detailed example about using our new DictionaryWords model in the September 2016 edition of ELR-News. Although this model may be used to build various word-games, it also allows researchers and clinicians to efficiently retrieve of all manner of word lists from a dictionary of 24,000 most frequent English words according to phonological structure or spelling.

    We've made a WordSearch version of the DictionaryWords available for free use at www.elr.com.au/links/CSGRT. Have fun using this model and contact us if you would like support via email, phone, or an online tutorial.

  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 2017 Calendar

    ELR Software offers regular, free eLr 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 see www.elr.com.au/events 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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