Children’s school readiness skills vary markedly by demographics, with mother’s education level and family income being the most important factors.
For example, a 1999 study by the National Center for Education Statistics reported that, among pre-kindergarten children of mothers who did not finish high school, only 7 percent could recognize all letters of the alphabet. In sharp contrast, among pre-kindergarten children of mothers with a graduate degree or professional training, 40 percent could recognize all letters of the alphabet.
The accompanying figure shows how a child’s school readiness skills vary with different demographic factors.
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Data on school readiness skills are from Table 260 of the Statistical Abstract of the United States 2000, available from the Census Department at www.census.gov/prod/2001pubs/statabs/sec04.pdf.