More About Steve
Dr. Steven L. Layne currently serves as Professor and Chair of the Department of Education at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL. Dr. Layne began his career at Wheaton in the fall of 2020 and will be serving in the role of Education Department Chair effective July 2021. Prior to joining the Wheaton College faculty, he spent one year at University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, as Assistant Dean of Educator Preparation and School Counseling and 14 years at Judson University in Elgin, Illinois, as Professor of Literacy Education and Chair of Graduate Programs in Literacy. His vast array of experience working at multiple grade levels in the public schools allows him a unique camaraderie with teachers and librarians and his award-winning books for children and young adults add another appealing element to his dynamic presentations. He is a frequent plenary/keynote speaker at large conferences and gatherings of literacy educators and librarians throughout the world. In addition, Steve continues to do a few school appearances each year as a guest author and provides inservice for schools throughout the nation.
Steven has been honored with numerous awards for his work as an educator and researcher. In 2011, he received the Outstanding Alumnus in Literacy Award from Northern Illinois University as well as the Lights of Literacy Award from Judson University. He was inducted into the Reading Hall of Fame in Illinois in 2010 and in 2009 received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Judson University. In 2001, Steven received one of the Milken Foundation's National Awards for Teaching Excellence in the amount of $25,000.00. He was also named to the 2001 All-Teacher Team by USA TODAY newspaper and was chosen as the Edwin A. Hoey Award Winner for U. S. Outstanding Teacher at the junior high level by NCTE in 2001. Steven was the 2000 ICARE for Reading Award winner and the 1999 Reading Teacher of the Year in Illinois. In addition, his doctoral dissertation research garnered the Outstanding Researcher Award from Northern Illinois University's College of Education Alumni Council as well as the Winn Research Award given by the State of Illinois Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development in 1997.
The Children's Book Council (CBC) is a highly respected organization in the publishing industry that works cooperatively with booksellers, publishers, author, and illustrators to promote quality children's books. Each month for the past several years, the CBC has featured a Meet The Author column where invited authors/illustrators pen some words about their history and/or their craft. Following a speech at the IRA/CBC Awards Program in May of 2005, Steve was invited to write an article for this column. Additionally, he has written articles for The Reading Teacher, The Illinois Reading Council Journal, Middle School Journal, and Contemporary Education.
Steven has written more than 25 books in a wide range of genres including picture books, young adult novels, poetry collections, and professional books. Among his most celebrated and award-winning titles are The Teachers’ Night Before Christmas, My Brother Dan’s Delicious, Love the Baby, Verses for Dad’s Heart, Life’s Literacy Lessons, This Side of Paradise, Igniting a Passion for Reading, and In Defense of Read-Alouds.
Steven's interest in state and community literacy organizations has led to active leadership positions on the boards of the Northern Illinois Reading Council and Literacy Volunteers of America's Fox Valley Affiliate. He has also served as a reader for the Rebecca Caudill Young Reader Award Committee and been active in the DuPage Literacy Roundtable. Steven has been a member of several committees for the Illinois Reading Council throughout his involvement with the organization and served on the Executive Committee as Vice President, President, and Past-President from 2004-2006 respectively. Steven has also been a longtime member of the International Literacy Association - serving on and chairing various committees over the years, including a four-year term on the Board of Directors from 2011-2014.