Celebrate your child’s scribbles. A novel experiment shows that even before learning their ABCs, youngsters start to recognize that a written word symbolizes language in a way a drawing doesn’t — a developmental step on the path to reading.
Researchers used a puppet, line drawings and simple vocabulary to find that children as young as 3 are beginning to grasp that nuanced concept.
“Children at this very early age really know a lot more than we had previously thought,” said developmental psychologist Rebecca Treiman of Washington University in St. Louis, who co-authored the study.
Appreciating that writing is “something that stands for something else, it actually is a vehicle for language — that’s pretty powerful stuff,” said Temple University psychology professor Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a specialist in literacy development who wasn’t involved in the new work.
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