By Sophie Dudley 
BELLEVILLE – Children’s giggles, claps, and a chorus of ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It’ filled the halls of the Belleville Public Library & John M. Parrot Art Gallery  on Wednesday morning.
The Children’s Youth and Readers’ Service held its twice-weekly Storytime event at the library located at 254 Pinnacle St. Children between the ages of three and five years old attended the morning of stories, music and dancing.
Jane Vanmanen, one of the leaders for the children’s event, said that she thinks it’s very important for the kids to learn to love reading.
“It helps with their interaction and builds their vocabulary,” Vanmanen says.
The morning began with several stories and interactive songs with music sticks and rattles. Later, the kids had the choice to sit down at tables and do some colouring for the remainder of the morning.
One of the attendees, Brigette Crowley, said she attends Storytime with her kids every week.
“Its a nice routine for the kids. It teaches them before they’re ready for school to sit, listen and pay attention and it’s nice entertainment for them,” she said.
When asked why she thought it was important to get kids involved in Storytime at a young age, Crowley said, “it keeps them interested in books and it encourages literacy from when they’re babies, and if their literacy skills aren’t strong they’re gonna struggle when they get to school. Encouraging an interest in books and reading from now helps them when they get to school.”
According to ChildTrends , children who lack a strong foundation of language awareness and literacy skills early in life are more likely to fall behind in school and are more likely to drop out. Shared parent-child book reading during children’s preschool years leads to higher reading achievement in elementary school, as well as greater enthusiasm for reading and learning.
Vanmanen said that starting in the New Year, they will begin doing some sensory activities with puzzles and colours.
Listen here to the children singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It”.http://www.qnetnews.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Happy-And-You-Know-It.mp3