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Readers are leaders

by DEVIN WEEKS
Staff Writer | August 28, 2020 1:00 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — No doubt about it — those who read tend to lead.

“Readers are leaders!” children's author and teacher Annie Winston declared to Boys and Girls Club members on Thursday. “You guys are ahead of the game if you’re a reader. You can learn anything if you’re a reader."

The club kids gathered in the shade on the field of Lakes Middle School as Winston and Jazzed about Reading colleague Laura Rydell generated some excitement around literacy during the Party Celebrating Passionate Readers.

“Every time you read and you are successful in the reading of a book — not just letting your mind float over the words but really thinking about what you read — you know that you have just earned a reward," Winston said. "You’ve just done something really good for your brain. You really have chosen to build your mind so that you can exercise it and do good things with your life. You’ve got lots of words moving around in your head because you just read a whole book."

The nonprofit Jazzed about Reading was founded by Winston in 2018 to encourage children to passionately embrace the power of reading to transform their lives, facilitate the development of their gifts and talents, to open new opportunities, to help fulfill their unique potential and to live purposeful dreams.

During the event at the Boys and Girls Club, Winston read aloud her book, "Ivan Von Penguinsky," about a reading-challenged penguin who wants to be a conductor. It's illustrated by "Spongebob Squarepants" illustrator Heather Martinez.

“I think it’s really cool she explained all the different parts in the book," said Tessa Lovell, 9, of Rathdrum. "She read us that book and showed us all the illustrations."

Tessa said her favorite books are the "Dork Diaries."

“I love that you can see the pictures in your head instead of on the page," she said. "You can imagine your point of view."

Her little brother Logan, 8, said his favorite book is the Bible.

"I enjoy that you can picture things in your mind," he said. "It’s super cool that other than playing video games or watching TV you can read."

Isibeal McFarland, 12, of Hayden, did a little happy dance when she won a $50 gift card to Michael’s after her name was chosen in a drawing for completing a selected book in a short window of time.

“I really like reading because it makes time go faster," she said. "It just plunges me into a different world."

Jazzed about Reading has an abundance of resources to spark a passion for literacy in kids of all ages.

Info: www.jazzedaboutreading.org

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DEVIN WEEKS/Press

Teacher and Jazzed about Reading founder Annie Winston reads her children's book, "Ivan Von Penguinsky," to kids at the Coeur d'Alene Boys and Girls Club during the Party Celebrating Passionate Readers on Thursday.

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DEVIN WEEKS/Press

Isibeal McFarland does a little happy dance Thursday as she wins a $50 gift card from Jazzed about Reading at the Boys and Girls Club in Coeur d'Alene.