Language researchers say traditional alphabet books are confusing for kids

A speech and language researcher says a lot of students in early grades don’t know the alphabet and how they are taught is part of the problem.

Denyse Hayward, associate professor in the University of Alberta’s Department of Educational Psychology, conducted a literacy test of more than 1,000 Canadian students aged three to eight, between 2012 and 2014.

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“When we went across Canada we found that many children who were Kindergarten age and Grade 1 age, and even some Grade 2 children, did not have very good alphabet knowledge, which we would certainly assume – particularly by the time they were in Grade 1 or Grade 2 – that they would at least know their letter names and many of the common sounds that they represented,” Hayward said.

“We were a little bit surprised by that.”

Hayward considers traditional alphabet books a big part of the problem. She says many of them aren’t based on literacy research or include features that provide kids with an easy introduction to their ABCs.

Watch below: Denyse Hayward says many alphabet books don’t present letters with common sounds that make learning the alphabet easier for kids.

The researcher and her colleague Linda Phillips have published Alphabet Stage in response. The book offers young readers the chance to trace the font, relate to each character with a memorable illustration and review each letter as they turn the pages.

“We know that alphabetic knowledge is really critical for reading and writing success but also your vocabulary knowledge and your oral language development, and so we’ve really worked hard in this book to provide parents and children access to all of those aspects that will help them become, hopefully, good readers and writers.”

Alphabet Stage is available at Amazon杭州夜网 or at Audrey’s Books in Edmonton.

Experiencing symptoms of menopause?Why avoiding hormone therapy could be a mistake

Davinder Bhullar was just 45 years old when she started experiencing symptoms of menopause.

“I had actually had a partial hysterectomy about seven years ago and started having symptoms in the second month,” the Calgary nurse said. “Water retention, forgetting things… I had heart palpitations and no energy.”

Suspecting her symptoms were related to low levels of estrogen, Bhullar began to ask doctors about hormone replacement therapy.

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“I had actually gone to quite a few [doctors] and I was deterred. Instead, I had a doctor recommend I take an antidepressant.”

WATCH:
Busting myths about menopause

Controversy and confusion has surrounded hormone replacement therapy (HRT) since a major study back in 2002.  An initial results paper from the Women’s Health Initiative grabbed headlines because it appeared to link HRT with an increased risk of breast cancer.

“HRT was branded as being harmful, something that women should certainly avoid, and it did unfortunately turn the tide and really turned the world upside down,” said Dr. Robert Langer, principal scientist at the Jackson Hole Centre for Preventive Medicine and a researcher involved with the Women’s Health Initiative.

Langer says results that linked HRT with cancer risk were largely misinterpreted and overstated. He says in recent years, research has lead medical societies to again recommend hormone therapy, especially for younger women.

READ MORE:
How menopause affects heart disease, diabetes and stroke risk in women

Last year, groups like the International Menopause Society  endorsed a new global consensus statement.  It states in part, “MPT (Menopausal Hormone Therapy) is the most effective treatment for symptoms associated with menopause,” and that for women under the age of 60, “benefits are more likely to outweigh risks.

“If (women) do have symptoms — hot flashes, night sweats, other discomfort, concerns about sexuality after menopause as well as other indications like prevention of fractures — HRT is something that they should well consider.”

Langer also warns that avoiding hormone therapy can have serious consequences for patients, putting them at an increased risk of heart disease, osteoporosis and bone fractures. A 2013 study estimated that over 90,000 American women died prematurely between 2002 and 2012 as a result of avoiding estrogen therapy.

Bhullar eventually found a doctor who was willing to prescribe hormone replacement therapy for her symptoms. She says she has now been taking low doses of estrogen for six years and has no regrets.

“In two to three weeks of taking [the hormones], my energy was back. I had no foggy brain, I wasn’t tired anymore and the heart palpitations stopped. I was back to my normal self.”

Judge rules to suspend N.B. PC Party nomination convention for Carleton-York

A judge has ruled in favour of Chris Duffie, suspending the PC Party’s convention to name their Carleton-York candidate scheduled for Friday and continuing a legal battle over whether the party member was unfairly kept from seeking the Carleton-York riding.

Duffie alleged the PC Party didn’t follow its own rules by failing to properly notify all members of the riding association that the convention had been scheduled and those seeking the nomination were required to submit documentation.

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On May 3, the New Brunswick PC Party made the decision to host the convention on May 19.

READ MORE: Denied N.B. nomination candidate says PC Party employed unfair practices

They posted an advertisement in the newspaper the next day, advising that candidates had until the end of the day May 5 to submit their nomination papers.

Duffie’s case argues that while the newspaper advertisement rule was sufficiently met, no formal notification was given to himself or other riding association members.

Duffie’s lawyer Kevin Toner told Justice Judy Clendening that only on a schedule of events hidden deep within the PC Party’s website was there any mention of the convention.

Clendening said that due to the injunction being filed just days ago it is in the best interests of both affected parties to suspend the upcoming convention and return to the case later in the month.

“I think what the judge said is fairly clear, given the short period of time it couldn’t possibly be fair to the [progressive] conservative party today so she’s going to set it aside,” explained Kelly Lamrock, who is representing the PCs in the case.

“If Mr. Duffie’s injunction is rejected it would be an uncontested nomination and it really does the party no harm,” he said, citing incumbent Carl Urqhart being the sole candidate seeking the nomination in Carleton-York.

“All I’m really looking for is an open, transparent and fair nomination for all,” said Duffie outside the courthouse after the decision came down. “Let’s bring everybody to the table. All I want is to take part in the democratic process.”

“Let’s let it all roll out.”

The two sides are set to return to court on May 29.

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Body believed to be that of missing Nanaimo teen found

A body believed to be that of a missing Nanaimo teenager has been found and police are treating it as a homicide.

Makayla Chang, 16, was reported missing on March 22.

She went missing in Nanaimo on March 20.

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Police said before they believed she could have traveled to Metro Vancouver with a 53-year-old man, Steven Michael Bacon. Police eventually located Bacon and spoke with him, but did not call him a suspect.

READ MORE: Missing Nanaimo teen may be in Metro Vancouver, RCMP say

A few weeks after Chang’s disappearance, a tactical team searched two Nanaimo properties in relation to the case. Officers were spotted at a home on Bruce Avenue that Chang was known to frequent. In an earlier search, RCMP looked at an area around Colliery Dam in connection with Chang’s case.

WATCH —; Apr 2, 2017: Nanaimo Search and Rescue searched a park in connection with the disappearance of 16-year-old Makayla Chang. 

The Nanaimo RCMP do not believe the public is at risk and will advise should the risk level change.

The investigation is being led by the Nanaimo Serious Crime Unit along with the assistance of other police resources.

Police say it remains a priority investigation, with dedicated resources tasked with determining the circumstances surrounding the disappearance and suspected homicide of Chang.

Police say Chang’s family is asking for privacy during this time.

Brandy McKee, a friend of the family, told Global News Makayla was a very upbeat, positive young lady with the biggest heart. McKee says the family is thankful to anyone who has shown concern for Makayla while she was missing.

“There was no doubt in our hearts that she was going to be brought home safely,” McKee said. “It was very devastating. [There is] a lot of disbelief and shock.”

McKee says the family has received no answers about where Chang’s body was found. The Nanaimo RCMP refused to comment on that aspect of the story on Thursday.

“It makes it extremely hard for the family at this time. They are going through absolute hell right now,” she said.

Police release image of vehicle at fatal south Edmonton stabbing scene

Edmonton police released an image of a vehicle that captured by a surveillance camera at the scene of a homicide on April 30.

READ MORE: Man found dead in south Edmonton 

Homicide detectives would like to speak with the individual or individuals that were seen in a dark-coloured Chevy HHR vehicle near 10682-61 Avenue on Sunday, April 30 at around 3 p.m.

Police said the vehicle was caught on camera driving to and from a home in the Pleasantview neighbourhood where the homicide happened.

Police also would like to speak with anyone else who visited the 61 Avenue basement suite the day of the fatal stabbing.

Chevrolet HHR: Captured on surveillance camera near homicide scene, 10682 61 Ave.

Courtesy: Edmonton police

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Someone called 911 with a weapons complaint at around 3:15 p.m. Officers arrived at the scene — near 106 Street and 61 Avenue — and found a man dead outside the back of the home.

The victim was identified as Jake Myles Skrepnek-Rey, 22.

A few hours later, an injured man was arrested at a hospital.

Investigators determined an altercation led to the stabbing.

READ MORE: 2nd-degree murder charge laid after fatal stabbing in south Edmonton 

Jayson Lunag Bay-Ag, 32, was later charged with second-degree murder. Detectives previously said they thought at least four other people were at the scene and knew either the accused or the victim, and may have information or witnessed the crime.

The incident was Edmonton’s 17th homicide of 2017.