Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Think & Play the Social Scouts™ Way: Firefighter Leo to the Rescue! by Heather Marenda-Miller & Amy Wilhelm Review



Unplug & Have Fun!
While technology has no doubt enhanced the speed and breadth of our communication, there is growing concern that reliance on screen time can often have a negative effect on young children. In fact, recent studies have shown with the increase in screen time, there is a decrease in children’s reading for fun, outside time and imaginary play, all of which are crucial for speech and language development.
Every single day in their pediatric practice in Los Angeles, speech-language pathologists Heather Marenda-Miller and Amy Wilhelm see first-hand how increased screen time is impacting speech and social development as well as the ability to do what most of us think as automatic in children – the ability to play.
In their therapeutic groups, aptly named Social Scouts™, Heather and Amy actually teach children how to play, helping them use their words to communicate ideas with others, thereby enhancing social skills while inspiring creativity and imagination.
In the first of a ten-book series created to bring their techniques to a wider audience, Heather and Amy, along with illustrator Alen Haljevac, have just published Think & Play the Social Scouts™ Way: Firefighter Leo to the Rescue! Intended to be read interactively with children from ages 3 to 7, this book follows Leo as he discovers how to think and play like a firefighter! Through thematic vocabulary and vibrant illustrations, kids will learn what firefighters do, where they work, what they wear, what special gear they need and all the ways they help the community. With opportunities for child participation throughout, as well as cut-out sequence pictures included for practice after reading the story, children can actively follow along and have their very own firefighting adventure, just like Leo! The authors hope this book will be fun for young children -- as well as parents and grandparents, teachers and nannies, brothers and sisters -- encouraging everyone to unplug, read, pretend and play!
About the Authors:
Heather Marenda-Miller, MS, CCC-SLP and Amy Wilhelm, MS, CCC-SLP are licensed and certified pediatric speech-language pathologists with a successful private practice in Los Angeles. Heather and Amy are co-founders of the Social Scouts™ therapeutic program, which they developed in 2010 to help children struggling with making and sustaining friendships. They share a passion for working with children and providing a fun, friendly and nurturing environment for them to think, learn, play and grow.
After searching high and low to no avail for children’s books that teach imagination and pretend play skills, they decided to create their own series of interactive books to do just that. This new title, Think & Play the Social Scouts™ Way: Firefighter Leo to the Rescue! is the first in that series.
About the Illustrator:
Alen Haljevac came to Los Angeles in 1994 with a passion for illustration, design and fashion. He earned his degree in Advanced Fashion Design from FIDM in Los Angeles. He gained his experience working for various entertainment and design companies and is currently working in the toy industry. Says Alen, “I feel extremely excited to be part of the Social Scouts™ book project, working with an amazing creative duo such as Heather Marenda-Miller and Amy Wilhelm.”
My Review:
This is a great book that has great photos that show every aspect of being a firefighter. There were interactive questions that the readers have to answer, and even spots to fill in their own word bubbles and illustrations. At the end of the book Leo has his own pretend Firefighter game with his toys. I really liked the realism and the way that the book is interacting with the reader. There was also a part at the end with sequence cards to use during pretend play. Including gathering items and cleaning up. I am giving this book a 5/5. I was given a copy. All opinions are my own. 

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