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College of Education alum recognized for vocabulary research

Cherrynn Kast Black
Cherrynn Kast Black

College of Education alum Cherrynn Kast-Black (EdD, Curriculum and Instruction, 2023), was awarded the Association of Literacy Educators & Researchers Dissertation Award for “Words in Context: A Mixed Methods Description of an Early Elementary Comprehensive Vocabulary Building Program”. Kast-Black’s research on academic vocabulary literature was also recently published in the journal Reading Psychology.

Research indicates that vocabulary development is one predictor of long-term student success in school. For her dissertation research, Kast-Black combined an analysis of differences in the spoken vocabulary of 60 fourth graders with an investigation of an early elementary school program. To identify the factors that had positively influenced students’ vocabulary development, she conducted a series of teacher focus groups, classroom observations, interviews, and artifact collection. The combined results of the study showed that a rich and varied learning environment, direct teaching of word meanings, word learning strategies, and fostering word consciousness could help develop students’ vocabularies, with the potential to disrupt widely recognized socioeconomic factors that can negatively affect vocabulary development in children.

“The award recognizes the impact of Cherrynn’s research and is well-deserved,” said College of Education Associate Dean Siduri Haslerig. “The doctoral program in Curriculum and Instruction prepares researchers and education leaders with tools to improve education for all learners, in Idaho and beyond.”

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the doctoral program in Curriculum and Instruction, the first doctoral program at Boise State.

Click here to learn more about the doctoral program in Curriculum and Instruction