Doesn't fit...toddlers and symbols

I have been doing some layperson research on toddler understanding of symbols lately. I keep reading that toddlers don't understand symbolic representation---but newhavenbaby seems to and I'm sure he can't be only one. One example, he knows the capital and lower-case letters and the sounds they make, and he understands that the letters make words that he can't read but that I can. And he knows that the words stand for things. Chances are I'm just probably not understanding symbols the way they are being studied by child development experts, but I'm working on it.
Anyway, here's daddytypes.com's recent entry about a study that appeared in scientific american. I have a couple of baby-related blogs that I read daily, and daddytypes is quickly becoming a favorite. This article has me planning some symbolic experiments of my own for a certain unsuspecting newhavenbaby.

But my favorite part of the research: " [W]e recently used different types of books to teach letters to 30-month-old children. One was a simple, old-fashioned alphabet book, with each letter clearly printed in simple black type accompanied by an appropriate picture--the traditional "A is for apple, B is for boy" type of book. Another book had a variety of manipulative features. The children who had been taught with the plain book subsequently recognized more letters than did those taught with the more complicated book. Presumably, the children could more readily focus their attention with the plain 2-D book, whereas with the other one their attention was drawn to the 3-D activities. Less may be more when it comes to educational books for young children. " Surprise?


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