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Citation:Wright, C., Diener, M., & Kay, S. C. (2000). School readiness of low-income children at risk for school failure. Journal of Children & Poverty, 6(2).

The goal of this project is to explore kindergarten childrenÕs readiness skills in 11 inner city schools with the highest poverty rates in Salt Lake City. Findings indicate that school principals focused on childrenÕs social and emotional development as a priority in school readiness while teachers emphasized literacy. Children lacked experience with reading and print concepts. One fourth of the children could not identify the front of a book and two thirds did not know where to start or which way to go when reading. Data were based on interviews conducted with 8 principals and 22 kindergarten teachers about their perceptions of readiness skills needed for children to be successful in school. Scores from 885 kindergartnersÕ Pre-Kindergarten Assessment were included in the study. TeachersÕ and principalsÕ readiness skill expectations were compared to the skills evaluated in the Pre-Kindergarten Assessment. The gap between the skills educators expect and need and the skills the children have presents a challenge for educators and policy-makers. Authors suggest interventions to augment the promotion of school readiness for participating children. These include adult literacy programs, ESL classes for parents, helping parents locate community libraries, helping parents understand the importance of talking with their children, and providing information on the importance of literacy. Authors suggest that families should also be educated about community resources. In addition, interventions can coordinate access to developmentally appropriate early childhood programs and professionals can refer parents to quality programs while also educating them on what to look for when choosing childcare and preschool programs. The resource of extended families should be included in developing intervention strategies. Caution should be used when considering the findings since the sample was small focusing on one geographic area. In addition, the study only examines teacher and administrator views of the transition process. ParentsÕ views should be included for the full picture.

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