July 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 and Word Meanings. 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. Some Tips for Using the eLr-Offline for iPad App
  3. Speech Pathology Australia National Conference
  4. Changes to eLr Subscriptions
  5. Other Independent Developers
  6. Free Downloads
  7. ELR 2017 Calendar

  1. Updated eLr Materials

    This month we started a revision of the "Consonant Digraphs" section in "Reading and Spelling". We modified 60 existing tasks so that, where possible, all tasks now use words that contain only short vowels. The reason for this is that when teaching or providing intervention for word reading and decoding skills, a systematic synthetic phonics approach has been shown to be effective.

    A systematic synthetic phonics approach was recommended by national and international government-commissioned reports on reading instruction (Rowe 2006) to target development of word reading skills: an essential component of early reading instruction which occurs within a language-rich reading environment. This approach involves teaching the learner to convert graphemes to phonemes using a part-to-whole approach. Initially, the child is taught grapheme-phoneme rules for consonants and short vowels. For example, the child is first taught letter-sound correspondences for a small set of letters that look and sound distinctly different (eg "m, s, t, a"), and is encouraged to sound out and blend to read words such as "mat, sat, at, sam". Then more letter-sound correspondences are taught to expand the range of words the child is able to decode. After most of the single consonants and short vowels have been taught, consonant digraphs are introduced. A consonant digraph refers to two letters which are code for one sound, eg "sh, ch, th, wh". Hence activities at this level are most useful if the words contain the newly taught consonant digraphs and previously mastered short vowels.

    Our revisions this month have focused on five models that occur within sub-sections targeting "sh, ch, tch, th, ck, ph, wh" graphemes. The models include:

    1. WordSoundButtons - provides material to teach sounding out and blending to read words
    2. WordSearch - encourages further practice at decoding and the development of orthographic representations for each word, ie quick recognition of the words to support sight word development
    3. SmileyMan - provides a game format which encourages the child to recall the spelling of each word
    4. MemoryWords - supports sight word development for words that the child has accurately decoded in the previous models
    5. ConnectWords - is another game format which supports sight word development

    We hope these revisions provide useful intervention activities, and we look forward to any feedback you may have.

    Rose, J (2009) "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. Retrieved from http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/14790/7/00659-2009DOM-EN_Redacted.pdf

  2. Some Tips for Using the eLr-Offline for iPad App

    A number of people have commented that the "forward/back" arrow buttons used in many eLr tasks are difficult to precisely touch. There is a much easier alternative using a touch gesture to match the existing keyboards shortcuts available in Windows and Mac browsers, and in "eLr-Offline for Windows".

    These touch gestures will work when using eLr either on the iPad App, or from the website (as with the Safari browser) on an iPad. The swipe should be on the lower screen and should be at least a quarter of the screen width. We've made it this long to try to avoid accidental "knuckle drags" triggering the action.

    The second tip relates to the "AppKeys" which must be entered into the "eLr-Offline for iPad App to "unlock" it's full function. We provide an "AppKeyPro" intended for subscribers using the App as a "Registered User", and an "AppKeyGuest" which subscribers may distribute to their client families to enable them to use the App for free home practice. The iPad must make a (momentary) internet connection to allow registration of an AppKey, but once registered the App will operate in a fully offline mode.

    All Appkeys are linked to their subscription expiry date, and must be current and in synchrony with that subscription. We've had requests for assistance from subscribers and families who've found that the AppKey they entered doesn't seem to be working. The usual explanation is that there is no internet connection when the registration is attempted, or that the subscription has been recently renewed, but the person hasn't been using the updated AppKey. So, please check that you and your clients have the appropriate, current AppKey. Contact us if you're confused about this process.

  3. Speech Pathology Australia Conference 2017

    The SPA conference in Sydney was a great success. Toni attended many of the sessions, and we enjoyed catching up with existing eLr subscribers and meeting speech pathologists who are new to our resources. During conferences such as this, we appreciate getting your feedback as this enables us to continue to develop materials that support your needs - the ability to access a large range of activities that cover many speech, language and literacy targets, from wherever you may be operating. We look forward to talking with you during this year and to perhaps meeting you at next year's conference. You may also email us with your feedback and suggestions about existing material and/or ideas for new activities and target areas.

  4. 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. All of you should 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.

  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 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, Build-a-Sentence or Word Meanings. To subscribe or unsubscribe, send an e-mail with details to news@elr.com.au

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