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.



Highlights of the State

In Ohio, more than 30% of the 130,000 children who enter kindergarten each year require some type of intervention service.  Early learning professionals throughout the state recognize that if roadblocks to learning and healthy development can be identified in children earlier, chances for their increased success in school can be improved.  For this purpose, Ohio joined the National School Readiness Indicators Intiative: Making Progress for Young Children in November 2002.

Contributing to the school readiness initiative was the work of Governor Taft's Ohio Family and Children First Council, which identified a set of well-being indicators for children from birth through young adulthood.  With a focus on children from birth through grade three, Ohio moved forward in defining Ohio's indicators relative to school readiness.

A statewide taskforce comprised of all state agencies that work with young children and their families as well as advocacy and community-based organizations was convened.  Its work was conducted in several phases:

  • Phase One: Taskforce members heard presentations and different perspectives about school readiness and the supporting research.  They also examined related national, state and local initiatives and data collection efforts.
  • Phase Two: Regional forums were held to increase public awareness regarding readiness and solicit stakeholder input regarding indicators that are essential to local communities.  The taskforce used input from these forums to select Ohio's indicators.  The state departments of Education, Mental Health, and Job and Family Services jointly committed to collecting data on these important measures of school readiness.

Next Steps

State agencies will produce annual reports summarizing progress on the school readiness indicators identified in 2005.  The information will inform a number of efforts aimed at developing a statewide, comprehensive and coordinated early learning system (see Ohio Articles and Reports).  It will also guide recommendations for making important health, education and mental health services accessible and affordable to families in need, as well as all families who want the best for their young children.

Ohio School Readiness Report
Access Ohio School Readiness Initiative by clicking on the following link:


© 2005, School Readiness Indicators Initiative
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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