Thursday’s letters: If you have to ask why downtown, you’ll never know

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Re. “City council isn’t helping downtown,” Letters, April 26

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Phyllis Baldwin asks the astonishing question, “Why would anyone choose to shop or live downtown?” It is impossible to respond. Louis Armstrong said, “If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know.”

Anita Jenkins, Edmonton

Whole word reading an alternative to phonics

Re. “It’s not enough to teach English by phonics alone,” Opinion, April 26

I have a confession to make. I am a whole word reader. Just looking at a word and the context it’s in allows me to integrate that word into what I am reading.

Mind you, when I pronounce new words they do sound really strange as the phonic system just never made any sense. I remember being very sad, thinking I would never learn to read. On a family drive, my Mom pointed to a stop sign and asked me to read it. Through a combination of knowing what the sign meant then looking at the words on the sign, I yelled out “Stop.” That was the turning point. I knew I could read, just in a different way from other kids.

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So when helping your children learn to read, focus on the belief that, yes, your child will read and, yes, they may learn using a phonics approach but there are some who will use the whole word method. Sign me, Happily Unhooked from Phonics.

Maureen Elhatton, Edmonton

Article hits mark on language arts curriculum

Robert Bruinsma has presented the most lucid account of the approach to the English portion of the curriculum change thus far. Well done!

George Murphy, Edmonton

Better snow-removal, budget savings are possible

Recently a lot of news about snow removal or management in Edmonton. Everything I have heard from the mayor on down is how it is such a difficult problem. Duh, we do live in a climate where it snows quite a bit during the winter months.

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One easy way to help with this problem that appears to have our high-priced help flummoxed: Don’t clear my street down to the pavement. See, such a good suggestion from one with no advanced degree in snow abundance. How many other brilliant suggestions are out there?

One other issue. Do we have to raise the city budget? Our family and all the organizations I have worked with always looked at the total budget. Magic — spare pennies found here, unnecessary expenditures found there, inefficient expenditures found, miraculously uncovered work with no purpose.

Now with the billions in the city budget, is it all wisely spent? Thinks not. I challenge the city — if they can’t have a good plan for the snow and how it could be implemented without raising the budget or taxes. Your problem will be solved and you will all have access to a free lunch from all the egg on your face.

Gordon McLeod, Edmonton

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