Stephanie Curenton

Associate Professor
Director of the Ecology of School Readiness Lab

Stephanie M. Curenton, Ph.D. is a tenured associate professor in the School of Education at Boston University. She studies the social, cognitive, and language development of low-income and minority children within various ecological contexts, such as parent-child interactions, early childhood education programs, early childhood workforce programs, and related state and federal policies.  She served as past associate editor for Early Childhood Research Quarterly and Early Education and Development. She was awarded a research policy fellowship from the Society for Research on Child Development (SRCD)/American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and worked in Office of Child Care. She has served on education non-profit boards for National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and local Head Start programs. 

Her research has been funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Office of Program Research and Evaluation (OPRE), the National Academy of Science Ford Pre-doctoral Fellowship, American Education Research Association (AERA), the Foundation for Child Development, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.  She earned her Ph.D. in Developmental and Community Psychology from the University of Virginia.

Visit the Ecology of School Readiness Lab’s Conversation Compass website.

lab mission

B.A., Wittenberg University

M..A., University of Virginia

Ph.D., University of Virginia

Iruka, I., Curenton, S. M., & Gardner, S. (2015). How change in home and neighborhood factors are related to change in Black children’s academic and social development from kindergarten to third grade. Journal of Negro Education, 84, 282–297.

Curenton, S. M., Dong, N., & Shen, X. (2015). Does aggregate school-side achievement mediate fifth grade outcomes for former early childhood education participants? Developmental Psychology, 51, 921–934.

Curenton, S. M., & Zucker, T. (2013). Instructional conversations in early childhood classrooms: Policy suggestions for curriculum standards and professional development. Creative Education, 14, 60–68. [Special issue on preschool].

Curenton, S. M., & Kennedy, S. S. (2013). Comparison of shared reading versus emergent reading: How the two provide distinct opportunities for early literacy. ISRN Education. Retrieved from

Piasta, S. B., Justice, L. M., Cabell, S. Q., Wiggins, A. K., Pence Turnbull, K., & Curenton, S. M. (2012). Impact of professional development on preschool teachers’ conversational responsivity and children’s linguistic productivity and complexity. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 27, 387–400.

Cabell, S. Q., Justice, L. M., Piasta, S. P., Curenton, S. M., Wiggins, A., Pence Turnbull, K., & Petscher, Y. (2011). The impact of teacher responsivity education on preschoolers’ language and literacy skills. American Journal of Speech–Language Pathology, 20, 315–330.

Crowley, J., & Curenton, S. M. (2011). Organizational social support and parenting challenges among mocha moms. Family Relations, 60, 1–14.

Iruka, I. U., Curenton, S. M., & Durden, T. (2016). African American children in early childhood education: Making the case for policy investments in families, schools, and communities. In C. W. Lewis & J. L. Moore III (Series Eds.), Advances in race and ethnicity in education. Manuscript in progress.

Curenton, S. M. (2016). The conversation compass: A teacher’s guide to high quality language. St. Paul, MN: RedLeaf Press.

Iruka, I. U., Curenton, S. M., & Eke, W. A. I. (2014). The CRAF–E4 Family Engagement Model: Building practitioners’ competence to work with diverse families. Boston, MA: Elsevier/Academic Press.

Curenton, S. M., & Iruka, I. (2013). Cultural competence in early childhood education. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education.

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