Congressman Grijalva reads to Yuma children at a local clinic

Congressman Grijalva reads to Yuma children at a local clinic

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Yuma, AZ- Over a dozen local preschool children gathered at the Tuscany Children Clinic in Yuma. Congressman Grijalva came out in support of the Reach Out and Read School Readiness Program.

"A teacher took the time to teach me how to read in 5th grade. It changed my life. I think it's a powerful tool. Once somebody becomes literate especially at a young age, once they begin to love to read and love books it changes your life," Said Congressman Raul Grijalva.

This program stresses the importance of reading aloud to help young children succeed in school. They're training doctors and nurses to advise parents about the importance of doing so.

"The reach out and read providers distribute books to more than 8,000 children throughout Yuma County Every year. This clinic is just 1 of 11 who participates in Yuma County.

According to recent national statistics, 34% of children entering kindergarten lack the basic language skills they will need to learn to read, putting them at risk for low literacy and school failure.

Locally, numbers are much more alarming.

"Their numbers show that here 4 school districts in Yuma County numbers went from 78% to 92%% of kindergartners are arriving to school unprepared not ready with the basic skills they need," said Irene Garza with Reach Out and Read Arizona.

The Tuscany Children Clinic joined the program in April and they say it's a privilege to be on board.

"We give out books starting at 6months of age. I give books to kids 1-5 years of age. I am allowed to give a thousand books out a year and I will most likely distribute them all out," said Faha Al-Alou, MD, Tuscany Children Clinic Yuma.

The got a tour of the facility and they each got a copy of curious George.

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