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Singing Sarah Puts on Show at Lawrence Library

By: Olivia Acree

The Lawrence Public Library hosts a weekly “Song and Rhyme Storytime” where children of all ages get to sing and dance while learning a love for reading.

Since 2017, Singing Sarah has hosted a musical storytime that helps children learn and build a love for singing and reading. 25 million children in the United States can not read, and Singing Sarah wants to motivate children to build a love for reading.

The host of the event, Sarah Niilekseela, is a music therapist. Her main job is working with children with disabilities, helping them learn to read through music therapy. However, she thoroughly enjoys the storytime she hosts at the library.

“I think the most important par is just building a love of reading and a desire to read. I don’t care if they don’t know their letters until first grade, it doesn’t matter. But if they want to read, then that’s what is going to motivate them to learn those skills,” said Niilekseela.

The storytime continued virtually throughout Covid and just started up again in person in late February. Throughout the pandemic, she was able to stay in contact with many children that attend her storytime.

“One of the families here, when everything shut down, she sent me some videos of them running their own storytime for their sibling. They would get out the book and they would do the author-illustrator song. So things like that, just the continuation of that music-making and that storytime and that singing at home has been really the most positive feedback,” said Niilekseela.

“Sing and Rhyme Storytime” is a great opportunity for working parents to spend time doing a fun activity with their children. The storytime is hosted at the Lawrence Public Library every Monday at 6:30 p.m.

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