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), Rude Readers, Word Meanings 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) is available online at www.elr.com.au/news and an email version is sent monthly to members of our mailing list (See Subscribing/Unsubscribing).
In this issue -
Phew!! It's taken a bit longer than we'd expected, but three new Rude Readers by John Fisher and ELR Software are now completed. Illustrations in some stories are done by Anna Breakell, as in the first 2 volumes, and others contain many wonderful drawings done for us by Melinda Beacham.
Each "Readers" volume is a computer program containing 5 separate illustrated, children's stories intended to stimulate humour and provide material targeting a range of language goals. Some use "naughty" words and ideas to interest a child, and teach a few things about language (eg syntax, semantics, phonology, pragmatics). Within the text, everything is controlled - phrase and sentence length & complexity, syntax, vocabulary, spelling. The programs enable clinicians to open a "Reader" for reading on-screen as an "eBooK", and to print off copies for clients, either in colour, or with sketch drawings if the child would like to colour in the pictures.
- Duck Cack
- What Mick does when a duck does cack on his back.
- A simple version of the folk story. It tries to keep the nicely-scarey feel of the original.
- Smart Shark
- Dinosaur asks Smart Shark and Silly Shark to do 'rude' things. Smart Shark has the right answers.
- Ten Tiny Tigers
- Ten tiny tigers are reduced one by one after misadventures.
- A B C
- There are two versions of the alphabet sequence with rhymes.
- Feather Weather
- Seven verses of rhymed advice about how to use feathers in different weather, to practise /th/ in an amusing verse.
- Green Wees
- Different foods are eaten, with several degrees of pleasure.
- Sniff Your Socks
- The reader is asked to judge the possibility and niceness of various suggestions. Could you/would you/should you sniff your socks?
- Sumo's Souvlaki
- Sumo's souvlaki is eaten by a tiger, at school. He describes the tiger to the teacher who doesn't believe him. There is a surprise ending.
- Riding Hood
- Retells Little Red Riding Hood with simple syntax, while keeping the traditional bits.
- Found by Me
- Four pets are found and looked after by a child.
- Far Fart
- Contrast CV (consonant vowel) words and CVC words in a sentence. The moose went moo at the moon.
- Don't Hit Dad
- The social rules about hitting people, animals and objects are contrasted alternately, using simple syntax and limited vocabulary.
- Mum's Bum
- Possession is expressed in two ways; a ball for Paul, and Paul's ball.
- Can a Kid
- /k/ in words in sentences to ask the same question with four alternatives: Can a [kid kangaroo koala kookaburra] catch a ball?
The "Rude Readers" support website http://www.elr.com.au/readers has more information, "teaching points" and a printable order form. We look forward to sharing these new "gems" from John Fisher with you, and as always, welcome any feedback.
This month we have added 38 new tasks in Semantics - Concepts. To accommodate these tasks a new subsection has been opened - "Spatial Concepts". The concepts include "on/under/beside", "in/out", and "top/middle/bottom". More concepts will be added in future editions of eLr.
Two models have been used. DragCentral is a free form task with an image in the middle of the screen (eg a box, a table etc) and on either side are sets of icons which may be dragged to any position on the screen. The client is encouraged to drag the icons to the image to practice the target concept. The clinician or helper provides language modeling and expansion to teach the concept, and encourage the client to use expressive language describe the activity.
The other model, LR-IconPlacer, is similar but it's additional feature is that a prompt is provided. The clinician or helper may use the prompt as a guide when completing the activity with the client. This model may also be used in a free form manner. Depending on the client's needs, the prompt may be turned off, and the activity modified to suit the client's needs and interests.
Update: Thanks to feedback about the animated "swallowing process" task using the new model "How it works", we've added a short summary to accompany each step in the animation. We'd be very happy for people to email any comments about either the model or the descriptions which have been added.
Many eLr tasks (especially the "drag" tasks like models 1017 DragCentral, and 1035 LR-IconPlacer) use our own "icon" sets of animals, dinosaurs etc prepared as "embedded fonts" which are temporarily downloaded by the MS Internet Explorer browser as required.
Some people using eLr from the web site have reported seeing colored digits (between 0 to 9) instead of these icons. In the past this was usually because the settings on some computers prevented this downloading, and this was usually easily adjusted with no adverse effects - see "FAQ - Frequently asked questions" at http://www.elr.com.au/support/elrfaq.htm
Apparently, even with adjusted settings, some subscribers or their Guest Users still had trouble with this mechanism. So we've made further changes on our web server which should overcome these additional problems. eLr-Offline - the CD version, contains these fonts within the program and so, as far as we are aware, has never had this problem.
It would help us greatly to hear if anyone is still having these problems on the web site - let us know what version of Windows and the MSIE browser you are using. And if is working correctly for you - it would still be reassuring to hear from you. This sort of "program bug" is the stuff of premature ageing for 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. A link to these sites has been established at http://www.elr.com.au/links/developers.htm. If you would like your materials listed on this page (at no charge), please contact us.
For this month we're pleased to let you know of News Talk on CD, a resource for developing speaking, listening & literacy skills in preschool and school aged children. Developed by South Australian Department of Education and Children's Services, Brooke White and Sue Lawless, Speech Pathologists. Ordering information is avaiable from Lim.Jenny@saugov.sa.gov.au
This CD presents great ideas in a simple, easy but exciting format for teachers to use to create an effective newstelling programme. It describes how a developmental perspective of newstelling can build upon each child's current oral language skills and increase success in speaking, listening and literacy. Newstelling is an essential part of your curriculum.
This CD is a resource for use by speech pathologists to support preschool and junior primary teachers in developing speaking, listening and literacy skills. It is an interactive resource full of creative, practical ideas teachers will love. It has 2 major components: A dynamic workshop that is visually stimulating and ready for speech pathologists to present to teachers, and a self study package for teachers.
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.
We will be providing workshops on eLr at the Swan Hill Innovation and Excellence Cluster Muster.
We will have a display at this conference
We will have a stand/display at this conference
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