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).
In this issue -
Twelve new tasks have been added to "Reading and Spelling - early skills" in the "e" rule subsection, which is found under "Other useful groupings". The "e" rule (sometimes called "bossy 'e'" or "magic 'e'") refers to one of the effects of the silent "e" at the end of many English words where it turns the preceding short vowel into a long or diphthong vowel sound. The new additions are for words in which the final "e" turns the preceding short /e/ sound to the long /ee/ sound. English has very few such words, the best known being words like gene, these, and scene, while multisyllabic words include compete, delete, and athlete.
For other vowels, as in "tap" and "tape", the short /a/ in "tap" is turned into a diphthong /ay/ sound in "tape". Further examples previously covered in this section include:
While the "e" rule discussed above is a frequently occurring pattern, especially in the early stages of learning to read and spell, there are other effects of a silent "e" at the end of a word. For example:
All tasks in our "e" rule section use a range of models (activities) to provide practice at decoding as well as reinforcing spelling. The WordSound Buttons and WordSearch models encourage the student to sound out and blend the sounds to read each word; LookThenCover and SmileyMan support the student's ability to recall spelling patterns; and MemoryWords and ConnectWords provide a fun activity to consolidate automatic recognition of previously decoded words (sight words).
As with all eLr materials, the role of the instructor is a central factor to encourage accurate responses from the learner. In the examples above, the instructor encourages accurate decoding and reading of the word, and reinforces correct spelling. To encourage vocabulary expansion, the instructor is able to extend the activity by talking about the meanings of words and providing examples of its use by using the word in a range sentences. These activities help develop connections between the word (orthographic representation), the pronunciation (semantic representation), and the meaning (semantic representation).
We welcome your feedback about these tasks and any aspect of eLr, as well as your suggestions about additions and modifications to eLr.
In addition to developing our core product, eLr, our team has been involved, since the late 1990's, in several projects which endeavoured to enhance internet access and literacy for people with severe physical and intellectual impairments. The APAR materials referred to below were developed with public funding, and are distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation. In other words, they are free for public use, but may not be modified or copied without acknowledgement from the original source.
The APAR (Assessment of Phonological Awareness and Reading), was designed by Dr Teresa Iacono and Dr Linda Cupple as a series of phonemic awareness (PA) and single-word reading tasks to assess the reading skills of non-verbal adults with complex communication needs. Their published research paper at www.elr.com.au/links/CXHSR indicated that this population demonstrates the same positive association between PA and reading as has been found in other groups of individuals with and without disability.
The complete resource, and a PDF version ready for printing stimulus cards, is available at www.elr.com.au/apar. We've recently made slight revisions to the materials to remove some (accidentally) duplicated pages in the PDF, and reduce the "pixelated" appearance of the images used in pictorial tasks. All other material such as score sheets and the wording of tasks is unchanged. Delivery instructions are included with the materials, and further recommendations for preparation and use of the stimulus cards is included in the paper referred to above.
The APAR is regularly downloaded by clinicians from around the English speaking world, and we always appreciate any feedback, or referrals to those who may have use for these materials.
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.
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.
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.
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