speech and language teaching concepts for Balloons Over Broadway in speech therapy

Frequent Speech Sounds:

/r/ medial
/l/ medial
/r/ vocalic (or)



Book Details:

Diverse Characters: Yes
Age Recommendation: Elementary, Late Elementary, Middle School

Balloons Over Broadway

By Melissa Sweet

Everyone’s a New Yorker on Thanksgiving Day when young and old rise early to see what giant new balloons will fill the skies for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Who first invented these “upside-down puppets”? Meet Tony Sarg, puppeteer extraordinaire! In brilliant collage illustrations, the award-winning artist Melissa Sweet tells the story of the puppeteer Tony Sarg, capturing his genius, his dedication, his zest for play, and his long-lasting gift to America—the inspired helium balloons that would become the trademark of Macy’s Parade.

This Thanksgiving-themed book is great for character study as it is a biography non-fiction story of Tony Sarg. This book has a high frequency of “marionette”/”marionettes,” this repetition is great for students targeting medial /r/ and multisyllabic wordsDiscover more of the speech and language teaching concepts for using Balloons Over Broadway in speech therapy below: 

Key Teaching concepts

Narrative Structure:

biography non-fiction

Narrative Concepts:

illustration study with mixed media illustrations included
character analysis


puppeteer, marionette, articulate, immigrants, etc.

Character Analysis:

Tony Sarg was a puppeteer, inventor, artist, engineer, and more. He was a problem-solver, each year improving his designs.

Phonological Awareness:

multisyllabic words

Problem Solving:

Many of Macy’s employees were immigrants and missed out on their holiday traditions during Thanksgiving.
There were two issues with the parade that Tony Sarg helped solve.

If you are interested in using Balloons Over Broadway in speech therapy, then check out the book companion with the full lesson plans and activities.