April 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. Changes to eLr Subscriptions
  3. Other Independent Developers
  4. Free Downloads
  5. ELR 2017 Calendar

  1. Updated eLr Materials

    This month we continued our revision of existing eLr tasks which contain non-words, and 32 tasks in "Reading and Spelling-Short vowel sounds - longer words" have been updated. The aim of this time consuming revision is to ensure that all non-words used in eLr are "legal", which means that the spelling of each non-word conforms to the spelling conventions of English (see the two previous newsletters for a discussion of the meaning of "legal", and how these tasks may be used within a Systematic Synthetic Phonics approach to early reading instruction).

    The revised tasks this time target accurate decoding in "longer words" which are organised (like all vowel-sound sections) according to the vowel sound, ie the /a/ vowel (as in cat), /e/ (bed), /i/ (pig), /o/ (hot), /u/ (hug), and /oo/ (book). This subsection also has further sub-divisions because in longer words the short vowel sound may be spelled with a number of spelling options. For example, the /e/ sound may also be spelled with "ea" (bread), and the /o/ sound also with an "a" (watch).

    Within "longer words", the instructor may choose a level of difficulty for each spelling option. The easiest words (level 1) are those for which, apart from the vowel sound, there is 1:1 letter-sound correspondence. For example, the level 1 word "head" has 1:1 letter sound correspondence except for the /e/ sound which is spelled with the digraph "ea" (a digraph refers to two letters which spell one sound). Level 2 words additionally include consonant digraphs eg "breath" (b-r-ea-th). Level 3 words are multisyllabic, for example the /e/ sound spelled with "ea" is found in words such as "ready, heavy, breakfast, instead, heaven, ahead" etc.

    Removal of non-words from sections targeting irregular spelling patterns. Our review processes now rely on the ARC non-word database (Rastle et al 2002), a resource not available when we first created eLr non-word tasks in 2000-2001! Analyses reveal that there are no acceptable "legal non-words" for sounds with the irregular spelling patterns for these short vowel sounds:

    • the /o/ sound (as in "not") spelled with an "a" (as in "watch")
    • the /e/ sound (bed) spelled with "ea" (bread)
    • the /u/ sound (sun) spelled with "o" (son, or "o_e" done)
    • the /oo/ sound (book) spelled with "oo", "u" (bush), "ou" (would)

    Hence we've removed 9 tasks which targeted spelling patterns often considered to be exceptions to the usual English spelling of a sound (irregular words). eLr sections covering these vowel sounds still contain activities using real words to support teaching of the patterns, for example, WordSoundButtons (to sound out the words), WordSearch , SmileyMan (encouraging retrieval of spelling patterns), MemoryWords (a memory game), and ConnectWords (a Connect 4 type game).

    1. Rastle, K, Harrington J & Coldhart M (2002). 358,534 nonwords: The ARC Nonword Database. Quarterly J of Experimental Psychology, 55(4)
  2. Changes to eLr Subscriptions

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

    1. eLr-Offline for Windows is 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 is 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) are able to obtain their free Windows version of eLr-Offline by internet download from our website www.elr.com.au/offline, or purchase a physical version (USB key) at a cost of $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. Many of you will have now received one of these new USB keys, either with your updated subscription, or as your "6-monthly update". You can also, of course, download the internet version if and when you wish. In fact, if you run the automatic process directly from the USB key you can keep the key continually refreshed with the latest version of eLr-Offline.

    If you have any questions about these changes and their implementation, or the automatic updating process, please contact us.

  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 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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