January 2021

Newsletter of ELR Software Pty Ltd

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

ELR Software produces 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) 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).

Season's Greetings, and we wish you all a safe and happy new year. And special thanks to all to have provided us feedback - always helpful!

In this issue -

  1. What's New in eLr
  2. Universal eLr Offline App
  3. Other Independent Developers
  4. Free Downloads
  5. ELR 2020/2021 Calendar

  1. What's New in eLr

  2. A new model called LettersToWords with twenty one new tasks, has been added to "Systematic synthetic phonics" in the "Reading & Spelling - Early Skills" section, and in "Letter names and sounds" in the "Phonological Awareness" section. This new model is a re-arranging letters activity (like "Magnetic Letters"). A panel of letters is displayed across the top of the screen, and, depending on the goal, selected graphemes (single letters and digraphs) are initially "active" and draggable to the lower part of the screen which resembles a lined writing page.

    Using LettersToWords in "Systematic synthetic phonics"

    As an example, in the first set of letter-sounds in the "Systematic synthetic phonics section", only "s, a, t, p, i, n" are initially active. The model allows selection of as many multiples of active letters as required which may then be used to make words using those letters. The instructor is then able to engage the learner in activities which have been shown to be effective in teaching accurate decoding and spelling. Some examples are as follows:

    1. To reinforce decoding, the instructor may drag a sequence of letters to make a word (eg "s-a-t"), and encourage the learner to say each sound and blend to read the word. The instructor may then take one letter away and replace with a different letter (eg replace the "t" with a "p"), and then encourage the learner to accurately decode the new word, "sap".
    2. The reverse of this is to encourage the learner to accurately break words into sounds and spell. The instructor may say a word (eg "sat") and allow the learner to say each sound as they drag the letters to spell the word. Then the instructor may say, "now I'll say a different word - sap". And the learner can either take the "t" away and replace it with "p", or construct the new word below the first word, highlighting the difference between the words. This process may be repeated so that the learner creates word chains, such as "sat - sap - sip - tip - tin".

    There are a few features of the LettersToWords model which make it particularly flexible in teaching alphabet knowledge, and accurate decoding and spelling.

    1. All letters are presented within the context of the complete alphabet. This helps to provide subtle reinforcement of alphabetic sequence: a skill that is required in tasks that require knowledge of alphabetic order.
    2. Attention is drawn to the spelling of digraphs by having their letters spaced more closely than the single letters, and by highlighting them with a red border (which may be disabled if preferred).
    3. A full alphabet (and set of digraphs - depending on the subsection and goal) may be made active at any time to enable all possible alphabetic combinations (using the "All" control), so that the learner is able to create ad hoc words which may be of interest, eg their name, their pet's name, or a word of relevance to the session.
    Using LettersToWords in "Phonological Awareness"

    This model complements the other existing models used in this section which encourage the learner to name target sounds and/or letters. These include Jumping letters (clicked targets appear randomly on the screen), TicTacLetters (targets are used in a game like "TicTacToe"), and MemoryWords (a memory game involving the target letters). Each of these activities presents the target sounds and/or letters individually.

    The addition of the LettersToWords model in "Phonological Awareness" provides practice at naming target sounds and letters which are displayed within the context of the whole alphabet, which, as noted above, helps develop both letter-sound and alphabet knowledge. Within this section, the instructor is able to name a target letter or sound and encourage the learner to drag the letter on to the lined part of the screen, or the instructor may encourage the learner to independently click and name letters and sounds.

    As with all eLr materials, the role of the instructor is a central factor to encourage accurate responses from the learner. In the activities discussed above, this includes the ability to name letters and sounds of single consonants, short vowels, and the range of vowel spelling patterns, as well as activities which combine phonemic awareness with alphabet knowledge - skills which have been shown in research to support accurate word decoding and spelling.

  3. Universal eLr Offline App

  4. We've now stopped updating the existing iPad and Windows eLr-Offline Apps. New eLr content, such as that outlined above, is only available from the eLr website and in the new "universal" eLr-Offline Apps, "eLr-Pro Offline" and "eLr-Guest Offline" which will work on all modern computers and tablets. They enable you to use all eLr activities anywhere access to the Internet is not possible or desirable.

    The "Pro" version is free for registered subscribers and enables selection and delivery of all eLr activities in familiar ways. The "Guest" version is also free and is for clients of registered users who have been provided a specific set of activities for home or school practice.

    You may install the "Pro" version from www.elr.com.au/elrpro.htm, or "Guest" version from www.elr.com.au/elrguest.htm. These have been developed and tested on Windows (Chrome and MS Edge), MacOS (Chrome), iPad (Safari), and Android tablet and Chromebook (both Chrome) devices.

    The installation process uses recent browser technologies and is probably unfamiliar to most people - it is all done from within your browser in a process that can generally be described as "Saving to your homescreen". The steps vary slightly according to the device/browser you are using and the "Install" button in each App offers guidance. Once installed your App is able to automatically update whenever we change or update the content.

    You'll need to "register" an installed App for ongoing use with the "Appkey" ("Pro" or "Guest" version) we've recently supplied to all subscribers. If you're not currently a subscriber, please contact us for a free trial.

    If you need assistance to transition to the new Apps, please contact us for more specific details or Zoom support. Any other feedback about these Apps will also be much appreciated.

  5. Other Independent Developers

  6. 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.

  7. Free Downloads

  8. 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.

  9. ELR 2020/2021 Calendar

  10. ELR Software offers 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. We are also offering free Coviu sessions to allow clinicians to get a feel for teletherapy, and in particular the advantages of using eLr for Coviu. 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

Copyright ©2021 ELR Software Pty Ltd

Postal ELR Software Pty Ltd
PO Box 1456
VIC 3875, Australia
(03) 5156 8309
+61 3 5156 8309
(03) 5156 8609
+61 3 5156 8609