Faculty Profiles

Steven Layne

Steven L. Layne, Ed.D.

Professor of Education

On Faculty since 2020
Blanchard 483

View CV

Dr. Layne comes to Wheaton after serving for fifteen years in higher education as a Professor of Literacy Education and an Assistant Dean as well as thirteen years as a classroom teacher and literacy specialist at both the elementary and junior high levels. Dr. Layne’s research and writing focus on the affective domain as it relates to literacy education, children’s and adolescent literature, and public speaking.

A frequent keynote speaker and featured author at conferences both nationally and internationally, Dr. Layne enjoys helping educators make connections between students and books. His work has been recognized with awards for outstanding contributions to the fields of educational research, teaching, and writing from a wide array of organizations such as USA Today newspaper, The Milken Family Foundation, The National Council of Teachers of English, and the International Literacy Association. He has authored nearly 30 books including multiple award-winning titles in both the picture book and young adult genres as well as two best practice professional books for literacy educators. 

Dr. Layne is very enthusiastic about being part of the Wheaton College community and is excited to serve Wheaton students and to work alongside his committed colleagues for the glory of the King and the Kingdom. He has been married to his wife Debbie, an elementary school principal, for over 30 years, and they have four children. He finds joy in prayer and devotions on quiet mornings, warm cocoa and a great book on cold afternoons, and walks with his wife at dusk. He loves playing games and traveling with his family, working with educators to strengthen their practice, public speaking in a variety of venues, praising the Lord in song, writing books, and talking about books with anyone who’s willing to do so.

Northern Illinois University
Ed.D., Literacy Education, 1996

Northern Illinois University
M.S. Ed., Reading, 1992

Judson College
B.A., Psychology/Education, 1987

  • Literacy Engagement
  • Adolescent Literature
  • Children’s Literature
  • Public Speaking
  • Assembly on Literature for Adolescents
  • Association for Literacy Educators and Researchers
  • Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
  • Children's Literature Assembly
  • Fox Valley Reading Council
  • Illinois Reading Council
  • Illinois Council for Affective Reading Education
  • International Literacy Association
  • Literacy Research Association
  • National Council of Teachers of English
  • Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
  • Young Adult Library Services Association

In defense of read-aloud
Plenary Address (livestreamed) at the Australian School Library Association Conference, Nationwide, 2021

What parents can do to nurture lifetime readers
Keynote Address for the Santa Rosa School District, Santa Rosa, Florida, 2020

In defense of read-aloud
Plenary Address at the New Zealand Literacy Association National Conference, Christchurch, NZ, 2019

Layne, S. L., & Keenan, K. M., Books the little kids love
Featured Presentation at the New Zealand Literacy Association National Conference, Christchurch, NZ, 2019

Picture books as a springboard to literacy
Invited Presentation at the Reading for the Love of It Conference, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 2019

Writing woes: In search of focus
Featured presentation at the Illinois Reading Council Conference, Peoria, IL, 2018

In defense of read-aloud
Plenary Address at the Australian Association of Teachers of English/Australian Literacy Educators Association National Conference, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 2017

Igniting a passion for reading
Plenary Address at the University of Akureyri Literacy Conference, Akureyri, Iceland, 2016

Engagement factors: Playing the dating game with kids and books
Plenary Address at the United Kingdom Literacy Association National Conference, Nottingham, England, 2015

Layne, S. L., & Zulauf, B. A., And the research suggests: Book talks as a motivational influence
Invited presentation at the United Kingdom Literacy Association National Conference, Nottingham, England, 2015

The success story nobody else can write
Keynote Address at the Alaska Literacy Association Leadership Retreat, Anchorage, Alaska, 2015

Balcony People
Keynote Address at the Rotary District 6490 Annual Banquet, Bloomington, Illinois, 2014

What parents can do to nurture lifetime readers
Keynote Address at the Redlands Forum at Redlands University, Redlands, California, 2013

Why God made school librarians
Keynote Address at the Rochester School Librarians Conference, Rochester, New York, 2013

Confessions of a reading arsonist
Plenary Address at the Australian Literacy Educators National Conference, Sydney, Australia, 2012

Balcony people
Keynote Address for the International Literacy Association National Convention, Chicago, IL, 2012

Successful strategies of building lifetime readers
Plenary Address for the East Asian Regional Council of Overseas Schools, Bangkok, Thailand, 2012

Climate change: Creating a vibrant literacy culture in schools
Presentation at the National Association of Elementary School Principals Conference, Tampa, Florida, 2011

Literacy lessons for a lifetime
Plenary Address at the Arabian Reading Association National Conference, Dharan, Saudi Arabia, 2010

Process and product: An author’s confession
Keynote Address at Surrey School Development Day, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, 2009

Where in the world do writers get their ideas?
Keynote Address at the Young Authors Festival, Louisville, KY, 2008

What if?
Annual Banquet Address at the ILA National Reading Conference, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 2007

Why God Made Reading Teachers
Keynote Address at the State of Maryland Reading Conference, Silver Spring, MD, 2006

The Story Behind the Stories
Texas State Reading Conference, Houston, TX, 2005

I’d like to say a word for the teachers
Keynote Address at the Plains ILA Regional Reading Conference, Bismarck, ND, 2004

*A more comprehensive listing of presentations may be found on the CV.

  • Children's Literature
  • Reading in Elementary and Middle School
  • Canonical vs. Contemporary YA Literature
  • Literacy Engagement and Motivation
  • Vocabulary Development
  • Reading Aloud
  • Public Speaking/Oracy
  • Children’s Literature
  • Book Talks

Foreword, Little readers, big thinkers
Layne, S. L., 2018

The simple things, Reading Today
Layne, S. L., 2015

Looking at children’s literature from two perspectives, The Reading Teacher
Serafini, F. & Layne, S. L., 2013

Commentary on Molder of Dreams, In J. Davis, L. Ryken, & T. Martin (Eds.). Reading for life: 100 Christian College Teachers Reflect on the Books that Shaped their Lives.
Layne, S. L., 2002

There's something, The Reading Teacher
Layne, S. L., 1999

Vocabulary acquisition by fourth-grade students from listening to teachers' oral reading of novels, Illinois School Research and Development Journal
Layne, S. L., 1998

Melody of Love. In A Closer Look: Writings by Teachers.
Layne, S. L., 1997

Economic education: Ways and means, In Elementary and Middle School Social Studies: A Whole Language Approach
Layne, S. L. & Scott, J. E., 1997

Another time, another place, The Reading Teacher
Layne, S. L., 1996

What have I done to them? The Reading Teacher
Layne, S. L., 1996

Censorship: The best defense is a strong offense, Contemporary Education
Layne, S. L., 1995

Read to them, The Reading Teacher
Layne, S. L., 1994

Read to your baby: A program designed to positively impact the attitudes of intermediate readers, Illinois Reading Council Journal
Layne, S. L., 1994

Handsome & gruesome: A dramatic monologue, Edna Means Dramatic Services
Layne, S. L., 1993

Informal assessment at the middle school level, Middle School Journal
Lenski, S. D., Wham, M. A., Layne, S. L., & Layne, D. S., 1996