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), Build-a-Sentence, Word Meanings, Rude Readers 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) 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 -
A new model and 34 new tasks have been added to "Reading and Spelling - Long vowel sounds" in the "/ar/ sound", "/er/ sound", and "assorted long vowel sounds"subsections. The new model is called WordBreaker and it is designed to provide material to teach segmentation of words into syllables and sounds, and to highlight more specific information about those two features such as the spelling of the vowel sounds, and the location of stressed syllable(s) in a multisyllabic word. This model will be useful for children and adults who have reading and spelling difficulties.
When using this model, a group of target words appears in the upper screen and the client or helper selects a word which is then displayed in the "working area" of the screen. On either side of the working area are buttons ("Syllables", "Stress", "Sounds" and "Vowels"), which will segment (or break) the word into syllables and/or sounds, highlight the stressed syllable, and reveal the vowel sounds.
This is a very flexible model as it allows the clinician/helper to focus on the relevant aspects for a particular child or adult. And depending on the focus of the session, the client may be encouraged to verbally segment the word prior to viewing the segmented word, or it may be used in a purely teaching mode, where the client selects a word from the target words, and sees the already segmented word in the working area. An additional feature of the model is that for some groups of words it teaches spelling patterns. For example, when working with the /er/ sound, there are tasks that focus on demonstrating how the same sounds is spelled in a variety of ways ("er", "ur", "ir", "ear", "or"). After the client has segmented the word, they are then encouraged to sort the words into appropriate columns, thus reinforcing each spelling pattern.
In these tasks, as with many of the eLr activities, the role of the clinician/helper is central in listening to the child's verbal response, and providing corrective feedback about accurate decoding and segmentation. Research has shown that accurate decoding plays a central role in development well specified mental images of words (mental orthographic representations), which support expanded development of sight word knowledge (Share & Shalev 2004, Cunningham 2006).
As with all eLr tasks and models, we encourage feedback and we're especially keen to have any comments about the syllabification used in these new (level 3) tasks. We've generally used mainstream syllabification guidelines for most words, but retained the integrity of base words which is sometimes more instructive for a person with a spelling or reading problem. For example, "dirty" is usually syllabified as "dir-ty", but we have retained the base word "dirt" using "dirt-y" as the syllabified word. The other feature we would like feedback about is our mechanism for highlighting sounds for which there is no spelling. For example, "curdle" is syllabified as "curd-le" (retaining the base word "curd"), and when segmented into sounds WordBreaker also represents the schwa vowel between the "d" and "l".
- Share, DL & Shalev, C (2004). Self-teaching in normal and disabled readers. Reading and Writing, 17(7), 769-800
- Cunningham, AE (2006). Accounting for children's orthographic learning while reading text: Do children self-teach? Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 95(1), 56-77
Firstly, thanks to all who contacted us about the release of eLr-Offline for iPad last month. It's very satisfying to know that the eLr materials are so well thought of. If you have the time and inclination, we'd also appreciate comments left about the App in the App store.
The new materials mentioned above, a mechanism to "Unregister" the App should you need to, and a few small "bug fixes" have been included in an update now available in the Apple App store as the September 2013 edition.
There'll be a new iPad version every month as we continue our standard practice of monthly updates and additions to eLr materials. These updates will coincide with the distribution of each monthly newsletter. If you installed and registered the App, and have also renewed your subscription in the last month, you'll have to re-register with your new AppKey. Otherwise the update will recognise your current registration.
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 is now able to offer eLr support and short 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. Please contact us for details.
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