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 -
Twenty four new tasks have been added to the "Sentence Processing - Single Clause Active Sentences - Using Descriptive Phrases" section. The tasks use the Typing with words and Typing with phrases models. Sentence Processing currently contains material which focuses on short sentences (single clause), and passive sentences. Within each subsection there are picture-based tasks, and word-based tasks. The new tasks for this month are word-based, and focus on strengthening the ability to understand and use descriptive phrases. In this subsection, there are already some picture-based activities using SceneTyper (a model where the client looks at a picture and rearranges words and phrases to make a sentence which matches the picture), and SceneSentence Matcher (where the client chooses the sentence which matches the picture). The new tasks provide practice at formulating sentences without picture support. The tasks increase in length and complexity,and the task name highlights whether the sentences contain 1, 2 or more than 2 descriptive phrases, and also whether the focus is on infinitive verbs.
The client may be encouraged to produce a short sentence first, and then expand the sentence to contain descriptive phrases. The ability to use language flexibly is strengthened by having the client produce as many sentences from the same set of words. Discussion of how the meaning changes with changed word order improves the client's ability to comprehend word and sentence meanings and provides a good oral language activity.
SmileyMan is a model which is used extensively in Reading and Spelling. It is based on the familiar "Hang man" game, but in the SmileyMan version, no one "gets hanged", and it provides positive reinforcement for getting the answer. General feedback about the model is that most children enjoy the game, and it encourages recall of spelling patterns. The aim of the game is to guess the word. Previously the client would click the on screen letters until the word was correctly displayed on the screen. The improvement is that now the client can also enter the letters using the actual keyboard. This will make the activity more flexible and use existing keyboard skills when spelling words.
The Activity Toolbox now contains a set of word puzzle generators which will complement classroom reading and spelling programs. These models work very well together to reinforce specific spelling lists or spelling patterns. These are WordSearch, LookThenCover, SmileyMan and MemoryWords. Last month, two of the models (WordSearch and LookThenCover) were modified so that the Registered Users could build a puzzle with their own word lists. This month we have added SmileyMan and MemoryWords, so that now all four models can be used to practice a specific set of words.
I (TS) have found it useful to use these word puzzles as a matching set. A WordSearch puzzle is used to provide initial practice with the words, and to prime the client. I then print that puzzle so that it is available while doing SmileyMan if the client is unable to think of options or needs a prompt. This reduces frustration, but still enables practice at recalling spelling and reinforcing spelling patterns. MemoryWords encourages further reading practice and LookThenCover can then be used for spelling practice.
The best way to use your own word lists (weekly spelling lists etc), is to maintain an external file of words (eg in a MS Word document), and use the cut and paste function to put them into the model. Alternatively, it may be a good activity for some clients to type in their own lists. As with all eLr models, each task has "Help" available. By clicking the "?" at the top right hand corner of the screen, information about using the model is provided.
We have just returned from Queensland where we presented workshops on eLr to four groups in the Townsville, Ingham, Cairns areas, and four groups in the Brisbane area. In each group there were people who have used eLr, but who wanted to get more information about sections they hadn't explored. There were also people had not used eLr but were interested to see if it would complement their speech, language and literacy programs. As usual, we've enjoyed the feedback and have come away with even more suggestions for eLr activities and ways to improve ease of use. Thanks very much to all who attended and assisted. eLr is now a large set of resources and we are exploring ways to make it easier for you to locate tasks for specific goals and targets. We would welcome suggestions and comments about this aspect of eLr.
Little Red Riding Hood (in Volume 4) is not a simple story! It's not rude, but the wolf does come to a violent end!. The traditional dialogue is there, "Oh grandma what a big 'noun' you have! All the better to 'verb' you with!" Little Red Riding Hood is a LARSP II phrase structure, mostly with a gerund - a verb functioning as a noun (adjective+adjective+noun+noun) eg "new pink dressing gown", but sometimes with a participle - a verb functioning as an adjective (adjective+adjective+adjective+noun) eg "large blue sleeping hat". This Rude Reader plays with this structure and has "long yellow hunting coat", "big white walking dress" and others. Everything ends happily - except for the wolf. The woodcutter arrives wearing a "tight green working shirt" and carrying a "big grey chopping axe". Grandma survives to cook up some wolf soup. The illustrations show the key items at each stage of the story.
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.
Speech Pathology Australia National Conference, May 29th - June 2nd, Canberra. We will have a commercial stand during the conference with eLr, Rude Readers, Word Meanings and EIA on show.
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