Studies show that educational achievement gaps already exist at Kindergarten entry.  Children from low-income families are more likely to start school with limited language skills, health problems and social and emotional problems that interfere with learning.  The larger the gap at school entry, the harder it is to close.

Language proficiency is a key predictor of school success. Early literacy skills (size of vocabulary, recognizing letters, understanding letter and sound relationships) at kindergarten entry are good predictors of children's reading abilities throughout their educational careers. Language and literacy skills enable children to develop cognitive skills and knowledge and to interact effectively with peers and adults.


What is �school readiness?�
When we use the term �school readiness,� we are talking about what needs to happen with children from ages birth to eight to make them successful students. What are the social, academic, and health needs of these children? What can schools be doing to prepare for these children? What do communities need to support children and families?

For a young child to be ready to succeed in school, there are five dimensions of readiness that should be considered:

�Physical health and motor development. Are kids growing and developing properly?

�Social and emotional development. Do kids interact well with others and communicate their feelings in appropriate ways?

�Approaches to learning. To what extent do kids show curiosity, enthusiasm, and persistence toward learning tasks?

�Language development. How are kids� listening, speaking, and print awareness skills developing?

�Cognition and general knowledge. How much do kids understand about the world around them?

Children also need to be surrounded by strong structures in their lives:
�Caring families
�Supportive communities
�Ready schools
�Effective services

School readiness is directly tied into child development, family structure, community factors, and cultural diversity. All of these should be considered when discussing school readiness in a community, county, state, or nation.

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© 2005, School Readiness Indicators Initiative
One Union Station Providence, RI 02903 401.351.9400 fax 401.351.1758
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The School Readiness Indicators Initiative is supported by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Ford Foundation.
The 17-state initiative is managed by Rhode Island KIDS COUNT