ST. PAUL (AP) - The Minnesota Department of Education says more Minnesota children are ready for kindergarten than ever before.

The department released its annual study Wednesday showing nearly 73 percent of Minnesota children were ready to start kindergarten in fall 2012. That's up from 60 percent in 2010.

To be prepared for kindergarten, children need to know more than their ABCs and how to count to 10. The report also measures physical and emotional markers.

The report also cites a narrowing in the readiness gap between white students and students of color and between low-income students and their wealthier counterparts.

Early childhood advocates say the report seems to show Minnesota's investments in early childhood education are paying off. But they say even more should be done.