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    Why Real Photos? What about Cartoons?

    Topics: Teaching with Pictures, Autism and Language, Infant/Toddler (0-3), Elementary (4-12), Articles

    Why Real Photos? What about Cartoons?

    Iconicity refers to the degree of resemblance between a picture and the object that it depicts. A cartoon image, for example, would have a low degree of iconicity, while a photograph would have a higher degree of iconicity. Rred-apple-pictureesearch demonstrates that the ability to generalize from a picture [1] to a real object is directly related to the iconicity of the picture. In a 2008 study, different groups of children were taught the name of a novel object using pictures of the object. One group was show an actual photograph of the object, and the other group was shown a cartoon drawing of the object. When tested on their ability to attach the name they had learned from the pictures to the real object, the children who viewed the real photograph were better able to extend the label to the real object (Ganae, Pickard, & DeLoache, 2008).

    Want more information on using real photos to teach? Check out our Background on Teaching Autism and Language with Picture article

    The Language Builder App from Stages Learning Materials also emphasizes the importance of iconicity in each of its six activities.  All of the images in the app are taken directly from the top selling Language Builder Picture Cards, all of which feature beautiful photographs of real objects children are likely to see throughout their everyday lives.


    Learn More about the Language Builder App

    Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M.

    Written by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M.

    Angela Nelson is the creator of the widely-recognized Language Builder Picture Card Series, and the creator and lead author for the Language Builder ARIS curriculum. Angela received her BA and JD from UCLA where she studied and practiced behavior psychology under Dr. Ivar Lovaas, and her Ed.M. at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, with a focus on technology innovation and education. As Founder and CEO of Stages Learning Materials, Angela has created autism, special needs and early childhood curriculum products since 1997. In addition to her duties at Stages, Angela writes for multiple industry publications and is Chair of the Education Market Association.


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