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Keywords:

  • poverty;
  • child development;
  • school readiness;
  • educational outcomes;
  • developing countries

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.