Ready to Learn

Preschool SELect Program

Program Design

Ready to Learn is a skills promotion program that uses teaching practices and free-standing SEL lessons to support social and emotional development in grades prek-1. It is designed to be implemented in a regular class where the teacher or school counselor delivers five lessons that use storytelling to support early literacy and social and emotional competencies. Teaching practices include (1) guiding students through retelling SEL themed Ready to Learn stories; (2) encouraging student story telling around their own personal experiences using positive story starters that reinforce SEL; (3) weekly classroom meetings that provide opportunities for students to strengthen SEL skills, behaviors, and attitudes; (4) positive peer reporting, where students are taught to notice positive behaviors of their peers and to report these behaviors to other students; and (5) teacher modeling, coaching, and cueing, where the teacher models SEL skills, behaviors, and attitudes and coaches and cues students to apply all three throughout the day and year.

Lessons are designed to be implemented once per week. These lessons are then followed up with three booster sessions, each delivered one month apart. To integrate SEL further into instruction, teachers are expected to cue and coach students to apply the appropriate skills and strategies during academic lessons throughout the year to master the Ready to Learn curriculum and develop a healthy and supportive classroom climate.

Implementation Support

The professional development recommended by Ready to Learn consists of one full day of training. This is done in person and can be provided on site, regionally at a professional conference, or at a summer training institute. Professional development is offered to both teachers and school counselors. Teachers are trained to facilitate the program in classrooms, and each teacher receives a classroom manual as part of the training. The training for counselors focuses on supporting students in small-groups. Access to a trainer to support ongoing implementation is available for purchase.

Ready to Learn has developed a Train the Trainer model that includes a process to certify teachers to train their colleagues. The process begins by having a group of teachers attend a regional training or summer institute. These teachers then implement the program in their school to strengthen their skills for facilitating the program. To gain certification, teachers send in a recording of themselves facilitating a lesson for Ready to Learn to review. If teachers meet criteria they are certified as trainers and can train colleagues in the curriculum.

To help support implementation, the program offers a CD with PowerPoint lessons for teachers as well as a 20-minute overview of the program for both teachers and administrators that reviews some lessons, key goals and components, and the program’s evidence base. The program also offers rating scales and observational tools to monitor the fidelity of implementation. Other implementation supports include consultations with district leaders before and after training to aid high-quality implementation, consultation for an implementation evaluation, and coaching.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Results from a randomized control trial published in 2003 support the effectiveness of Ready to Learn for elementary students. The evaluation included 260 kindergarten students from 12 classes in three schools that were majority middle class and white. The evaluation found that the students who participated in the program achieved higher scores on a standardized test of listening comprehension compared to students in the comparison group. It also found that students who participated in the program performed better on a teacher-rated survey of student behaviors that predict ADD. Outcomes were reported 1 year after baseline while controlling for outcome pretest.


Brigman, G. A., & Webb, L. D. (2003). Ready to learn: Teaching kindergarten students school success skills. The Journal of Educational Research, 96(5), 286-292.