ELR Software Pty Ltd
eLr - What's New 2002
A total of 144 new tasks have been added to the Phonology - Sound by Sound Section, in the "blends with s", "blends with l" and "blends with r" subsections. Over the last 3 months, we have been adding tasks to Phonology that would be useful for clients who have literacy skills and need more challenging activities.
The "WordSearch" and "SmileyMan" models have proved to be both challenging and fun, and provide ample opportunity for repetition. There is a now a matching version of each of these tasks. So a good combination is to do the "WordSearch" first, and then do "SmileyMan". The "WordSearch" allows the client to become familiar with the target word set, and (if literacy skills support it), they are then somewhat prepared for the word recall/identification needed in "SmileyMan".
Some minor changes have been made to 5 tasks in Phonemic Awareness - Sound Letter Links in Words, and Sounds in Words. The task numbers are 1010-149, 1010-154, 1010-105, 1010-143, 1010-148. There were slight differences in the pictures that were used by PCS and Compic (eg glove/gloves), and this would have caused confusion when sounding out the target word.
There have been 140 new activities added to Phonology - Sound by Sound Section. We have continued to add challenging activities for those children who are a little older, and want to use reading skills when practising phonological skills. The two models which have been used are "WordSearch" and "SmileyMan". This month we have added these activities into /k, g, f, v, sh, zh, ch, dge, y/.
100 new tasks have been added to the Phonology - Sound by Sound section. The main aim of these tasks has been to provide clinicians with materials which will appeal to students who are a little older, who need more challenging material, and enjoy using their reading skills. Two models have been used - "WordSearch" and "SmileyMan". So far, these models have been included in the /s/, /z/, /l/, /th/ (voiceless and voiced), and /r/ sounds. In each of these subsections, you will find them in the CVC, Single Syllable Words, and Multi-syllable words. Over the next 2 - 3 months, these activities will be added to all the sub-sections of Phonology - Sound by Sound, and text based tasks will be included in the "phrase" level of each sound.
A small change has also been made to model 1030 ("SentenceSplits"). Used to date in the Phonemic Awareness (Word Awareness) section this model encourages the client - usually a child, to listen to a sentence and separate the words. The "Prompt" sentence is revealed/spoken/covered for each sentence in the task. We've now "joined" the prompt words together to make it less easy for the child to simply count the words.
There have been 192 new tasks added to the Reading and Spelling section using a new model called "SmileyMan". This is an adaptation of traditional Hangman - with a more positive reinforcement of success! The new tasks essentially repeat the word sets of the "WordSearch" tasks in this area, providing an alternative way of delivering this material. There are two modes, "default" and "expert", which make the tasks easily modified for different skill levels, and which provide the opportunity to complete repetitions and strengthen the visual memory for spelling patterns.
In the default mode, the client can get hints - by clicking on missing letters the letters are revealed. Solved or hinted letters can also be "clicked away", so the selection can start again. Also in this mode, at the end of the game an incomplete word is fully revealed. If the client is unable to solve it independently, they can redo the word by clicking "Try Again". This provides extra practice for tricky words.
In "expert" mode, no clues are available, and at the end of each game, only completed words are fully revealed. Question marks appear where there were unsolved letters, and the client has the opportunity to keep trying by clicking "Try Again".
The "Try Again" button can be clicked any number of times, providing repeat practice at spelling the target words.
28 new tasks have been added to Semantics - Categories. The "MultiPic Slideshow" model was used to provide "odd one out" activities. Each new task contains 4 pages. There are 8 tasks in the Unrelated Common (therefore 32 items), 10 in Unrelated Specific (40 items), and 10 in Related Specific (40 items).
The "odd one out" tasks are useful for therapists working within the cognitive neuropsychological model, focussing on semantic knowledge. They are also useful when working with individuals who need strengthening in the areas of expressive vocabulary, use of specific vocabulary, and verbal reasoning skills. (eg explain why it is the odd one, name the category).
In Reading and Spelling, the 'e rule' sections has been revised - thank you to feedback that we received. There were a couple of items which were not totally consistent, so there have been changes to the following tasks - 1003-204, 1003-206, 1015-132, 1015-129, 1015-136, 1013-113 and 1013-114.
Also in Reading and Spelling, the 'detecting non words' tasks (using "MultiWord Slideshow" eg 1027-306 and 1027-307) has been reviewed. I had noted that some of the 'nonwords' sounded like real words, even though they were not spelt correctly as a real word. Hopefully there are none of these instances left. Feel free to email me if you come across a nonword, which when read out, sounds like a read word.
We have also made a change to 1039-194 ("Memory Pic" in /s/ final CVC words), as the content of this task was fairly similar to the other "Memory Pic" in this section.
The July edition of eLr offers new materials that are of a different nature. A new subsection, called "Scene Library", has been added to the the "Activity Toolbox" (along with the "Game Generators"). These new materials are not meant for client interaction, although they generally look and behave like others in eLr. Instead, the idea of the Scene Library is to provide users with direct access to many of the game boards and scenes used elsewhere in eLr, to create their own games and speech / language related activities.
The Scene Library contains 7 'tasks' which use the new "Scene Printer" model. To use this model, select a task, click on the game or scene of your choice, then click the VCR "forward arrows" to preview the picture. Your chosen picture may then be printed in two sizes by clicking either "normal" or "enlarged" (full page).
The first task contains 12 game boards. These will be useful to provide clients with spinner games to practice targets which are specific to the assessed need, or simply to provide a range of 'off-computer' activities. Cards to accompany the games may be printed using those already available in the Phonology section (eg the PicCard model), or, for language based targets select from the Semantics Section. For specific needs, clinicians could generate individual vocabulary groupings by using the "PhonPic Tool" in the Game generators.
Other tasks contain a total of 59 'scenes' which are grouped according to general themes (eg People & body parts, House, Transport etc). These may be used in barrier games, or in gluing activities. The pictures, which are available in the Phonology or Semantics sections, are useful to cut up for gluing onto the scenes.
We hope these materials will significantly enhance your ability to extend speech, language and literacy practice beyond the computer, by providing 'hands on' materials. It will also enable you to easily provide clients who do not have ready access to computers or the Internet with practice materials. If you normally use eLr in the Offline version, you may find it worthwhile logging on to our website to access these scenes, until you receive your next update of the eLr-Offline CD.
50 new tasks have been added to the Directory for the June edition of eLr.
In Reading and Spelling, 37 "WordSearch" activities have been added to the Prefixes and Suffixes, Word Patterns and Silent Letters sub sections. Most students enjoy these activities. A tip to remember is that each task can be presented in a variety of ways by clicking the "back arrow". This rearranges the words, so that you have a new puzzle with the same vocabulary.
In Reading and Spelling, 13 "MultiWord Slideshow" tasks have been added to the Diphthong Digraph sub sections. These acitivites are aimed at decoding real and non words. The student is presented with 4 words, and has to select which is the real word.
56 new tasks have been added to the eLr Directory. The Rhyming section in Phonemic Awareness has had a facelift. There are 14 new tasks in Rhyme Identification using the "MultiPic Slideshow" model. These are graded in difficulty. The vocabulary ranges from "common concrete" to "abstract" words, and there is a choice of "field of 3", or "field of 4". Ten "MemoryPics" activities have also been added. Again there is a range of difficulty level, where the clinician can choose a task with 3, 4, or 6 pairs.
A new sub section Word Generation has been added to Phonemic Awareness - Rhyming. Three new "Slide Show" tasks, and two "SpinPic" games provide practice for the skill of generating words that rhyme with a given word.
There are sixteen new tasks in Reading and Spelling - Prefixes and Suffixes. The "Word sound buttons" model enables the student to practise breaking words into syllables. Eleven new tasks have also been added to Reading and Spelling - Three Letter Words - Assorted Vowels. These tasks use the "Typing with words" model. There is a greater range of available words in 'assorted vowels', so these sentences reflect everyday language use. The level of difficulty increases from "subject + verb", "subject + verb + noun phrase" etc.
55 new tasks have been added to Semantics - Associations - Other Associations. (The "Other Associations" section is designed to contain activities which are not specifically synonyms or antonyms etc). The new tasks are picture based using the "MultiPic Slideshow" model, and contain tasks with a field of 2, 3 and 4 pictures. In field of 2 tasks, the client is encouraged to explain how the two pictures are related. In field of 3 and 4, the aim is to have the client identify which two pictures "go together", and if appropriate, to explain what the relationship is. A graded level of difficulty is provided, as the section breaks into "Common" and "Specific", referring to the relative frequency of the vocabulary. The default for the tasks is to present the picture + word. By clicking on "Images", the task can be presented with picture only. These materials should prove useful for child with developmental language disorders, and adult clients with acquired language impairments.
An error was detected in task number 1006-278 (one of the pictures was not showing), and this has been corrected. We encourage you to email us if you detect such errors - they are very readily fixed.
The models used in this section include "Word sound buttons", "Sentence completion", "LookThenCover", and "WordSearch".
- - words where the "y" is pronounced as an "ee" sound (as in "body")
- - words where "y" is pronounced as the long "I" sounds (as in "dry")
- - words where the "y" is pronounced as the short "I" vowel (as in "gym").
The new model developed last month "WordSearch", was also used to add 65 new tasks to the following sections in Reading and Spelling - Consonant Digraphs (sh, ch, tch, th, ck, ph, & wh), Short Vowel Digraphs, Long Vowel Digraphs, Diphthong Digraphs, and the Schwa (or neutral) vowel.
The Syllabification section in Reading and Spelling was totally revised, expanded and reclassified, so that it appears as a section in its own right. There are now 40 syllabification tasks, (previously 10), and they are divided into 4 subsections, 2, 3, 4, and 5 syllable words. The model used for this section is "Word sound buttons". I welcome feedback on the syllabification rules in this section.
With this revision, "Prefixes and Suffixes" is now also a section in its own right. This should make it easier to locate these areas.
We have added a powerful new model (or activity type), and a total of 165 new tasks this month.
This model was designed primarily for the Reading and Spelling section. It presents as an interactive word search puzzle, such as you would find in the games section of a newspaper or in paper based spelling activities. The list of target words appears on the left side of the screen, the puzzle grid is in the middle, and as words are solved (by clicking on the matching letters) they are listed on the right side of the screen - reinforcing visual recognition of the word.
Additional features enable the clinician to modify difficulty level, and encourage active engagement for the client.
- The difficulty of the puzzle may be adjusted using different selections of the Fill letters (eg random letters (a-z), letters which are used in the target words, letters which have not been used in the target words, or no letters). The most difficult presentation would be "letters which have been used in target words", and the easiest would be "none" (colons appear instead of letters, as the "fill").
- By clicking the "VCR Control" right arrow, the solution to the puzzle is revealed, and the left arrow returns the puzzle to its unsolved presentation. Clicking the "double back arrow" shuffles the words, so that the same group of words can be practiced again using a new grid layout.
- If a hint on a word is required (rather than revealing the total solution), the user can click the listed word, and that word is underlined within the puzzle.
- Lower case letters are used in the default setting. By clicking "Uppercase", the puzzle is presented with upper case letters.
Seventy eight WordSearch tasks have been added to Reading and Spelling in Three letter words, Four letter words, The "e" rule, Consonant Blends, and in Demon Words. In the next couple of months the model will be included in many other sections.
Other new tasks
As a result of a review (see below) new tasks have been added to replace existing ones in Consonant Blends in Reading and Spelling .
And in Phonology - Sound by Sound
- 9 tasks using the "List matching" model
- 18 using "Word sound buttons" model
- 18 using "Sentence completion"
- 20 using "ClueWords"
- 18 using "Typing with words"
- 3 "TicTacPics" added to "r", "s" initial, and "s" blends
- 1 "CluePics" added to "consonant +s" in the final position of words
This section was reviewed because since the initial development, we have produced a greater range of models, some of which are more suitable to the Reading and Spelling sections. In the Consonant Blends section, certain tasks using models which were more applicable to Phonology have been replaced with new tasks.Review of the content in the "Typing with words" model
The content of all tasks was reviewed so that there is more consistency across sentences, ie the sentence structure is more predictable (eg subject + verb + one or two phrases).
This has proved to be an excellent model for a range of ages. Most children who are working on literacy enjoy the challenge of the model, and the ability to make as many strange sentences as possible. For clients with acquired language and processing disorders, it provides materials to strengthen processing and reasoning skills.
We have now have produced a printable (PDF) version of the Directory in response to frequent requests for a "hands on" version to let you to see at a glance the entire contents of eLr. As this is a large document (approximately 80+ pages, or approximately 500k), we have offered two versions:
The full eLr Directory is available only to subscribers. It contains all the section and sub-section headings, individual task titles and task numbers. Look for the new link to the Printable Version within the eLr - Registered Users page.
A Summary version is also available (see http://www.elr.com.au/support/elrdir-s.pdf) which can accessed be anyone, including non-subscribers. It is about 20 pages (65k), and contains all the classification information but no listing of actual tasks and task numbers.
Remember that these documents, although current at the time of production, will "date" as changes and new activities are added. It's also possible to "save some trees" by printing only selected pages, or even cut'n'paste sections to files, emails etc.
We have been working towards making aspects of eLr more accessible for people with physical limitations. The first enhancement to be incorporated is in the "VCR controls" on many of the models (the small arrows on the top left corner of the screen), which can be difficult to access if you have coordination problems. These may now be controlled by pressing the RIGHT or LEFT arrows on the keyboard eg to move forward/back the next/previous item. To activate the double arrows (for Start/End), press CTRL-RIGHT or CTRL-LEFT.
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