Mom, pediatric SLP, and author of THE MONKEY BALLOON Becca Eisenberg talks about using mealtime as a way to enhance speech and language skills, plus how pets are therapeutic, asking ‘what if’ questions and a GIVEAWAY!


By Leslie Lindsay 

What happens when a child lets go of a balloon? This bright and engaging story uses the imagination of a little girl and her father, exploring ‘what-if’ questions.

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**GIVEAWAY!!**

I’m passing along a complimentary gently-used copy of THE MONKEY BALLOON. Must reside in the continental U.S. to be eligible. Details below! (keep scrolling)

292372640031211~APRAXIA/BOOKS on MONDAY~

Written by a parent, pediatric speech-language pathologist, and instructor Becca Eisenberg, M.S., CCC-SLP brings to life a very real–and all-too-common childhood experience of losing a balloon. Little Mimi and her father are at a local fair when she selects a balloon–a monkey balloon–from a vendor, but soon the balloon slips out her hand and into the sky.

THE MONKEY BALLOON is gone, but Papa and Mimi make the most of it. They get ice cream–maybe the monkey balloon is there? They go to the park–could it be going down the slide? They see children riding the school bus, they discover colorful fish at the ocean…they look at the zoo…but no balloon. Mimi does not despair. In fact, she feels content in believing that her balloon has found a new home.

This simple, engaging tale utilizes bright, warm illustrations in conjunction with ‘what-if’ questions focusing on critical thinking, problem-solving, and imagination. It allows parents and caregivers to engage in dialogic reading, that is, asking your child about context clues, describing the images in the book, the feelings of the characters, and so much more. It allows for open-ended questions between caregiver and child.

I especially liked the end of the book, which offers learning and language tips for parents, educators, and other caregiverswhich can enhance and build on the basics in the text. A fabulous resource for preschools, pediatric SLPs, and children’s programs.

Please join me in welcoming the lovely and talented Rebecca Eisenberg, M.S.-CCC-SLP to the author interview series.

Leslie Lindsay:

Becca! So glad I stumbled upon your work. I love how much love and treasure children’s literature, and I think this is what inspired you to write THE MONKEY BALLOON, but I could be wrong. What can you tell us about why this book, why now?

Becca Eisenberg:

Thanks Leslie. I feel the same way about you, and I am so happy we connected! There is a wonderful story behind how the idea for The Monkey Balloon began. It actually started in college when I first met my friend and co-author, Mindy Winebrenner. When we first met, we talked about how much we loved children’s books and had a soft spot for Curious George. Years later, the drive to publish a children’s book returned. I wanted to write a book, but I didn’t know where to begin. One day at a fair, my daughter lost her balloon. After she lost her balloon, I asked her all sorts of questions. Where do you think the balloon went? Do you think it’s at the playground? How about the zoo? At that moment, I thought…” What a great idea for a book!”

The next night, I connected again with Mindy about the idea and we both agreed that we wanted monkeys in the book, so we decided to make the balloon a Monkey Balloon. We then connected with our talented illustrator and partner, Yuki Osada to bring this story to life. Yuki, Mindy and I worked for years to create our first book, THE MONKEY BALLOON. We then decided after our successful release of this book to write a sequel, A TALE OF THE MONKEY BALLOON which follows the balloon through various fairy tales.

baby wearing white shirt tied with three balloons
Photo by Hasan Albari on Pexels.com

**GIVEAWAY!!**

I’m passing along a complimentary gently-used copy of THE MONKEY BALLOON. Must reside in the continental U.S. to be eligible. Details below! (keep scrolling)

 MUST RESIDE IN THE CONTINENTAL U.S. TO BE ELIGIBLE.

Leslie Lindsay:

Like you, I adore using children’s literature to facilitate language and critical thinking. Plus, I think we can impart valuable lessons this way. Can you expand a bit on that? What tips would you give parents to making reading time with their child as meaningful as possible?

Becca Eisenberg:

I love this question! I think the first advice for parents I would give is to “think outside the box”. When I first read a book (either picture book or middle grade), I think about the characters, lessons a child can learn, and various language concepts. I also think vocabulary expansion! However, the most important thing for a parent is to make reading time not a test. It’s all about having fun, bonding together and implementing strategies naturally.

Scaffolding is also key to helping a child who has difficulty answering questions. I also believe reading aloud is an important time. For many parents whose children read themselves, they stop reading aloud. I believe that all ages benefit from read alouds.

With regards to strategies, I look to the research for specific strategies. I receive several subscriptions from literary magazines and journals. As I read through these articles, I learn different strategies that can children develop literacy skills as well as support those with language-based learning disabilities. Learning never stops!

For more tips, check out this guest post article I have available on my website about critical thinking. I also find the concept of “thinking aloud” to be wonderful during read alouds. Learn more about “thinking aloud” here.

adorable blur bookcase books
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

You also are all about using mealtime as a way to enhance speech and language. Your website, Language During Mealtime gives some good examples. How are these concepts different than, ‘playing with your food?’

Becca Eisenberg:

The concept of Language During Mealtime is taking the time that a parent sits with their children and optimizing it with language and literacy. Many years ago, when my children were young it was difficult to get them to attend to their food and conversation at the table. I started to read during mealtime, and it became a tradition. I read picture books, chapter books and sometimes magazine articles to my children during mealtime. It gives us something to discuss and also gives me the opportunity to implement language and literacy tips. This in turn helps my children attend to their meals and also contributes to our quality time together. In our busy worlds, sometimes it’s hard to find time to sit and read with our children. I find mealtime to be ideal!

[Note: In SPEAKING OF APRAXIA, I share several suggestions and tips of things we did at during  mealtimes to enhance speech-language work…”Table Talk ‘n Toss,” was one, auditory bombardment activities, as well as family meal discussion cards.]

**SECOND EDITION OF SPEAKING OF APRAXIA COMING SPRING 2020 FROM WOODBINE HOUSE! **

photo of toddler smiling
Photo by Alexander Dummer on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

What ‘home’ speech-language tips might you give a parent or caregiver who cares for a child with CAS (childhood apraxia of speech)?

Becca Eisenberg:

Great question! For children with apraxia, visuals are key! For children with apraxia, they may verbalize a specific word one day, but the next day, they can’t articulate it. This can be challenging and frustrating for a child and parent. When I read books to children with apraxia, I incorporate visuals either in the book or as a supplement. For The Monkey Balloon, I created free visuals that can be printed out. See the link here. For parents who want to work on sequencing, print out sequencing cards here.

With regard to scaffolding, I think many parents (and sometimes therapists) ask too many questions. Providing different ways for children to participate is key! For example, instead of asking a question, use a fill in the blank prompt such as “The children are playing in the ________”. You can also give closed choices. For example, “Are children playing at the playground or at the ice cream shop?” With the use of the visuals, children can participate more and don’t have be dependent on verbalizations they may not be able to articulate at that moment. Visuals can also help prompt verbalizations and help augment communication!

For more tips on reading strategies, check out my e-book here.

woman and child sitting on fur covered bed
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

Oh gosh—I have to ask about your basset hound! My Betsy Mae is such character. Can dogs be therapeutic with speech?

Becca Eisenberg:

I love basset hounds! My sweet Maple passed away years ago, but I miss her every day! Basset hounds are super special dogs 😊

I love your question because I think dogs and other animals can be wonderful companions for speech, language and literacy. To learn more about canine assisted reading, check out my article here.

With regards to speech and language, dogs are non-judgmental and love companionship. For children struggling with speech and language delays and disabilities, anxiety can be prevalent. Dogs and other animals have been known to reduce anxiety and this can be key to help children who have any speech and language delays and/or disabilities.

**GIVEAWAY!!**

I’m passing along a complimentary gently-used copy of THE MONKEY BALLOON. Must reside in the continental U.S. to be eligible. Details below! (keep scrolling)

black dog beside little girl
Photo by bin Ziegler on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

Becca, this has been so delightful. Thank you for taking the time. Is there anything I should have asked, but may have forgotten?

Becca Eisenberg:

Thank you for the opportunity Leslie! The only thing I would like to mention is my other children’s books that I have written. My children’s book, MY SECOND YEAR OF KINDERGARTEN is going into its second reprint with Mascot Books. This book is about a young boy who repeats kindergarten and struggles his first year. In his second year, he makes progress and learns to have a growth mindset. Check out my website for MY SECOND YEAR OF KINDERGARTEN

I also co-authored a children’s book titled BLUEBEE PALS TECHIE RANGER. This picture book is about the product Bluebee Pals (an assistive technology plush toy) and children with complex communication needs.

I am also working on new puzzle project that will be available soon on my website.

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Artistic photo of book cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Follow on Instagram for more like this @leslielindsay1.

For more information, to connect with Becca Eisenberg via social media, or to purchase a copy of THE MONKEY BALLOON (or her other books), please visit: 

292372640031211

**GIVEAWAY!!**

I’m passing along a complimentary gently-used copy of THE MONKEY BALLOON. Must reside in the continental U.S. to be eligible. Details below! (keep scrolling)

Here’s how it works: Share this link wherever you hang out online (FB, Twitter, Insta, email). Then send me a note (leslie_lindsay@hotmail.com) and say you’d like to be entered to win. Make your subject line: Monkey Balloon. A random name will be selected Wednesday 1/29/20 at 2pm CST. I’ll respond to your email if you’re the winner. Check your junk/spam. You’ll need to provide your U.S. mailing address and I’ll ship you your books. Yay and good luck!

MUST RESIDE IN THE CONTINENTAL U.S. TO BE ELIGIBLE.

ORDER LINKS: 

becca profile 2019ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Rebecca Eisenberg, MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist, certified autism specialist, author, instructor, and parent of two children. Rebecca has taught graduate classes at Teachers College Columbia University, NYU, and Mercy College. She also teaches courses throughout the year at local colleges in the field of speech language pathology in Westchester, NY.

She began her website, Language During Mealtime and podcast to create a resource for parents to help make mealtime an enriched learning experience. She is the author of several published games for children with special needs, a story time workbook and three children’s books. Her first two children’s book are titled The Monkey Balloon and A Tale of The Monkey Balloon. Her third children’s book is titled My Second Year of Kindergarten, which is currently going into its second print. She is also the author of an e-book titled Improve Your Child’s Language and Learning in 20 minutes.

She has worked since 2001 with both children and adults with varying speech and language delays and disabilities.  She works in variety of contexts including public and private schools, outpatient clinics and day habilitation programs improving communication with both children and adults who have complex communication needs. She also provides parent and staff training to improve implementation and skills in augmentative and alternative communication in both the classroom and home setting.

You can connect with me, Leslie Lindsay, via these websites.

I hope you do!

**SECOND EDITION OF SPEAKING OF APRAXIA COMING SPRING 2020 FROM WOODBINE HOUSE! **
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Leslie Lindsay is the award-winning author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012). Her work has been published in Pithead ChapelCommon Ground ReviewCleaver Magazine (craft and CNF), The Awakenings Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Ruminate’s The WakingBrave Voices Literary MagazineManifest-Station, and others. She has been awarded as one of the top 1% reviewers on GoodReads and recognized by Jane Friedman as one of the most influential book reviewers. Since 2013, Leslie has interviewed over 700 bestselling and debut authors on her author interview series. Follow her bookstagram posts @leslielindsay1.

LOVE IT! SHARE IT!

#earlyliteracy #childrensbooks #dialogicreading #readingwithkids #TheMonkeyBalloon #speech #CAS #apraxia 

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[Cover and author image courtesy of author and used with permission. Artistic photo of book cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Follow on Instagram for more like this @leslielindsay1]

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