School Readiness

Two young girls reading in bed with their mother

School readiness is a term used to describe all the preparation that takes place in the years between birth and the first day of kindergarten. Children who enter school with early skills, such as a basic knowledge of math and reading and a well-developed vocabulary, are better positioned for school success.

Parents, caregivers, doctors, family members, preschool teachers, early-learning programs, and the broader community all play a vital role in closing the gap on school readiness and ensuring that all students arrive at school healthy and developmentally ready to actively participate in the classroom and learn.

As early as 18 months old, children from asset-limited families begin to fall behind in vocabulary development and other skills critical for school success. By age 4, they are likely to have heard 30 million fewer words than their affluent peers. When children start school with this gap, they are less likely to do well academically, attain higher levels of education, and secure employment after school.

Parents and caregivers play an enormous role in school readiness. The first five years of brain development establish the foundation of all future learning. Babies and children soak up words, rhymes, songs, and images, making important neural connections for this growth.

Physical health and wellness, as well as the timely recognition of any developmental delays, are also important factors in school readiness.

For more information on the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s efforts to promote school readiness nationwide, please visit