Postprint version. Published in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Volume 1136, June 1, 2008, pages 243-256.
Copyright © 2008 New York Academy of Sciences.
The definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1196/annals.1425.023.
Poverty affects a child’s development and educational outcomes beginning in the earliest years of life, both directly and indirectly through mediated, moderated, and transactional processes. School readiness, or the child’s ability to use and profit from school, has been recognized as playing a unique role in escape from poverty in the United States and increasingly in developing countries. It is a critical element but needs to be supported by many other components of a poverty alleviation strategy, such as improved opportunity structures and empowerment of families. The paper reviews evidence from interventions to improve school readiness of children in poverty, both in the United States and in developing countries, and provides recommendations for future research and action.