Faculty and Staff Profiles

Assoc Professor, Instruction Curriculum Leadership
Email: jhperkns@memphis.edu
Office Location: 413d Ball Hall
Office Hours: Tuesdays - 10:00 - 1:00 & by appointment

J. Helen Perkins, Ed.D., is an Assistant Professor at the University of Memphis.  She serves as the Principal Investigator and Project Director of the Memphis Literacy Academy (MLA). This is a collaboration between the university and Memphis City Schools; the academy's principal goal is to enhance the literacy of urban children by building capacity with the K – 5th grade teachers.  She also serves as the Co-PI of the Memphis Striving Readers’ Project, an academy for grades 6 – 8 (Memphis Content Literacy Academy).

She was recently appointed by The Board of Directors of the International Reading Association to the editorship of The Reading Teacher. Helen is the first African American to serve in this capacity for any of the IRA journals.

Prior to moving to the Memphis area, Helen was appointed by the governor of Texas to serve on the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors.  She also served as a trainer, master trainer, developer and writer for the Texas Reading Academies.

Helen’s research focus is in Urban Literacy.  She recently co-authored an article in the October 2005 issue of The Reading Teacher Journal titled “Evidence – based Literacy Education and the African American Child.”  She has published several articles, chapters in books, and a children’s book. She also serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Balanced Reading Instruction, a special interest journal of the International Reading Association.

Helen is Director of the Clinical Division in the College Reading Association. She represents her department by serving as a member of the University Council for Graduate Studies and Research.  She also serves the students as an advisor to the International Reading Association Student Organization.

She serves as a National Literacy Consultant on various projects such as the Reading First Teacher Education Network (RFTEN); this is a federal project with Historically Black Colleges & Universities, HBCU’s.  Helen is an international, national, and local speaker.



Additional Information

Class Resources

International Reading Association

Memphis Striving Readers/Memphis Content Literacy Project


Creative Activities

  • Casey's Lamb (Children's Book) - 2004 - Barrington, IL - Rigby Publishing Company
  • Facilitator TLINC Project - Tapped IN - 2006 - 2007 - University of Memphis - Microsoft
  • Memphis Content Literacy Academy Innovation Configuration Map - 2008 - 2009 - University of Memphis/Memphis City Schools - Memphis Striving Readers Grant/DOE


  • Memphis Literacy Academy (PI, 100%) - Memphis City Schools - $223,000 - 2006 - 2007
  • Memphis Literacy Academy (PI, 100%) - Memphis City Schools - $224,000 - 2007 - 2008
  • Memphis Striving Readers (PI - 100%) - U.S. Department of Education - $16.1 Million - 2008 - 2011
Journal Articles
  • Perkins, J. H. (2001). Listen to their voices: Effective reading instruction for fourth grade, Reading Horizon. 41 (4), 239 - 255.  

  • Diffily, D., & Perkins, H. (2002). Preparing to teach in urban schools: Advice from urban teachers. Teacher Education & Practice, 15, 57 - 73.             
  • Perkins, J. H., & Haywood, J. F. (2003). Smart talk: Improving children's oral language. Texas Child Care, (27) 1, 38 - 42.         
  • Perkins, J. H. (2003). Talk is cheap, but oh, so important. Early Years, 25 (1), 4 - 5.        
  • Perkins, J. H., & Cooter, R.B. (2005). Evidence-based literacy education and the African American child. The Reading Teacher, 59(2), 194 - 198.   
  • Perkins, J. H., Powell, A. & Key, S. (2006). The power of vocabulary knowledge: Social studies, science, and math. Tennessee's Children: Journal of the Tennessee Association for the Education of Young Children, (1), 25 - 30.    
  • Perkins, J. H. (Spring 2007).  Master reading teachers taking the lead in literacy education.  The State of Reading Online Journal.  Texas State Reading Association. http://www.tsra.us/state_of_reading.shtml  
  • Cooter, R.B., & Perkins, J.H. (2007). Looking to the future with the reading teacher: 900 year-old sheep, and papa na come! The Reading Teacher, 61 (1), 4 - 7.       
  • Perkins, J. H. (1989 – 1997). Literacy. Dallas Reading Academy Staff Development  Dallas School Teachers & Administrators. Dallas, TX.

  • Perkins, J. H. (1989 – 1997). Various Reading Topics. PTA Presentations. Presented  strategies for parents to assist their children at home. DeSoto, TX. 
  • *Briggs, C., & Perkins, J. H. (1991). Using Multicultural Literature: An Open Window to New Worlds. Southwestern Reading Conference, Oklahoma City, OK.

  • Perkins, J. H. (1994 – 1995). Reading Recovery. Presentations for Parents & Teachers. DeSoto, TX.

  • Perkins, J. H. (1995). Alternatives to Worksheets & “Multicultural.  Teacher In- Service, Elementary Teachers & Jr. High Teachers. DeSoto, TX.   

  • Perkins, J. H. ( April, 1995). Reading Recovery.  Lecture, Via Telenet, Emporia State University, Kansas, Pre-Service Teachers. 
  •  *Perkins, J. H. (Feb. 2000). A Perfect Match: Selecting and Introducing Books.  Kansas State Reading Recovery Conference, Emporia, KS.    

  • *Perkins, J. H. (Feb. 2001). Effective Scaffolding: A Vehicle to Students’ Literacy  Acceleration.  Kansas State Reading Recovery Conference, Emporia, KS.  
  • *Perkins, J. H. (Sept. 2001). Moving Forward: Scaffolding Children’s Oral Language Development. Houston Area Association for Education of Young Children. Houston, TX.  
  • *Perkins, J. H. (Oct. 2001). African American Students on the Path to Literacy. The National Black Child Development Institute Conference. Miami Beach, FL.

  • Perkins, J. H. (Nov. 2001). Literacy at Home: Parents as Partners. Even Start Literacy  Program, Cedar Hill ISD. Cedar Hill, TX.   
  • *Cooter, R., Cooter, K., & Perkins, J. H. (April, 2002). Systemic Problems Plague Inner City Readers: Research-Proven Solutions. Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi Reading Conference, Corpus Christi, TX.
  • Perkins, J. H. (Oct. 2002). Texas Primary Reading Inventory and Instruction. University of Texas in Arlington, Arlington, TX.   
  • *Perkins, J. H., & Perkins, C.  (Oct. 2002). The Power of Language: Its Acquisition, Development and Enhancement. The National Black Child Development Institute Conference, Atlanta, GA.   
  • Perkins, J. H. (Oct. 2002). Expanding Literacy and Content Learning Through Engaging Activities. Dallas Public Schools’ Health Teachers. Dallas, TX.  
  • *Perkins, J. H. (Oct. 2002). Negotiating Syllabi: Modeling Student-Centered Practices in Teacher Education Courses, 46th Annual College Reading Association Conference, Corpus Christi, TX.

  • *Perkins, J. H.  (Feb. 2003) The Power of Language: Its Acquisition, Development and Enhancement. Kansas Regional Reading Recovery Conference (invited), Emporia, KS.  
  • *Perkins, J. H., & Perkins, C. D. (April, 2003). The Power of Language: Its Acquisition,  Development and Enhancement. Texas A & M University Corpus Christi Reading Conference, Corpus, TX.   
  • *Perkins, J. H. (Oct. 2003). Unlocking the Comprehension Door: Strategies for Enhancing Literacy Skills. National Black Child Development Institute Conference. New Orleans, LA.  
  • *Perkins, J. H. (Nov. 2003). Preparing to Teach in Urban Schools: Advice from Urban  Teachers .College Reading Association. Corpus Christi, TX.  
  • *Perkins, J. H. (Feb. 2004). Vocabulary: Its Acquisition, Development, and Enhancement. National Reading Recovery & Early Literacy Conference. Columbus, OH.   
  • *Perkins, J. H. (Sept. 2004). Writing to Succeed: Strategies to Develop and Enhance Writing Skills. National Black Child Development Institute Conference. Los Angeles, CA.   
  • *Perkins, J. H. (Jan. 2005). Integrating SBRR into Course Content. Reading First Teacher Education Network, Winter Collaborative Development Seminar, Austin, TX.   
  • Perkins, J. H. (Mar. 2005). Literacy Initiative Updates.  Training & Learning Academy, "Focus on Literacy Leadership, Instructional Facilitators' Training. Memphis, TN.  
  • Perkins, J. H. (Apr. 2005). African American Students on the Path to Literacy: From Theory to Application. Memphis Literacy Academy/Principals' Fellowship. Memphis, TN. 
  • *Perkins, J. H. (July 2005). Memphis City Schools and The University of Memphis: Collaborating to Empower Teachers.  Reading First Teacher Education Network Summer Collaborative Development Seminar. Austin, TX.  
  • *Perkins, J. H., Key, S., & Powell, A. (Oct. 2005). The Power fo Language: Its Acquisition, Development, and Enhancement in the Content Areas.  Tennessee Association for Childhood Education International Fall Conference. University of Memphis.   
  • *Perkins, J. H., Cooter, R. B., & Cooter, K. (Nov. 2005). Connecting Urban Literacy Academies and Reading Clinics as Research Laboratories.  College Reading Association Conference, Savannah, GA.   
  • Perkins, J. H. (Dec., 2005). Ways Parents Can Help Their Children Become Better Readers.  Getwell Elementary No Child Left Behind Night (Parents). Memphis, TN.   
  • *Perkins, J. H. (Jan. 2006). First Grade Teacher Reading Academy. Reading First Teacher Education Network (RFTEN) Winter Collaborative Development Seminar. Washington, DC.   
  • *Perkins, J. H. (March 2006). (Keynote) The 900 Year Old Sheep. West Tennessee Reading Association Winter Conference. Memphis, TN.    
  • Perkins, J. H., & Cooter, R. (April, 2006).  The Academy Training Model as a Vehicle for Externally Funded Projects.  Office of Faculty Development.  University of Memphis, Memphis, TN.     
  • *Perkins, J. H. (April, 2006). Meaningful Partnerships: Families, Caregivers, and Educators Working Together.  Memphis Association for the Education of Young Children Spring Conference. University of Memphis, Memphis, TN.   
  • *Perkins, J. H. (April, 2006).  Meaningful Partnerships: Families, Caregivers, and Educators Working Together.  Reading First Teacher Education Network Spring Collaborative Development Seminar. Austin, TX.   
  • *Perkins, J. H. (Oct. 2006). (Keynote). Using Scientifically-Based Reading Research (SBRR) to Teach Reading.  Stillman's Division of Education Reading Conference.  Tuscaloosa, AL.   
  •  Perkins, J. H. (Jan.2007).  Urban Literacy: Making a Difference in our Schools.  Friends of the Library.  Memphis, TN.  
  • Perkins, J. H., & Cooter, R. (March, 2007). Closing the Achievement Gap in Our Nation's Schools.  New Teacher Center.  Memphis. TN.   
  • *Perkins, J. H., & Perkins, C. D. (April 2007). Writing to Succeed: Strategies to Develop and Enhance Writing Skills.  Memphis Association for the Education of the Young Child. University of Memphis, Memphis, TN. 
  • *Perkins, J. H. et al. (May 2007).  The Changing Faces of Clinical:  Practicum and Research.  International Reading Association.  Toronto, Canada.  
  • *Perkins, J. H. (July 2007). Cobblestones Needed to Pave the Way Toward Enhanced Literacy Acquisition: Examining Effective Content Area Literacy Instruction in the Elementary Grades. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Chancellor's Academy. University of Illinois, Champaign, IL.  
  • *Perkins, J. H. (July 2007). Integrating Scientific Based Reading Research into the Syllabus.  National Reading First Higher Education Consortium. St. Louis, MO. 
  • * Perkins, J. H., & Cooter, R. (Nov. 2007). Writing for Publication in The Reading Teacher: Tips from the Editors. College Reading Association Conference. Salt Lake, Utah.  
  •  *Perkins, J. H., Cooter, R., Cooter, K., Potts, R., & Heeren, E. (Nov. 2007). The Memphis Content Literacy Academy: New Directions for Adolescent Literacy. National Council of Teachers of English.  New York, NY. 
  • *Perkins, J. H. et. al. ( Nov. 2007).  Urban Education: Pre K - 12, Community & Teacher Education Efforts. National Reading Conference. Austin, TX.

  • *Perkins, et al. (May 2008). Hot Tips: Writing for The Reading Teacher, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, & Reading Research Quarterly.  International Reading Association Conference.  Atlanta, GA.   
  •  Perkins, J. H. (December 2009). Smart Talk: Nurturing Oral Language and Oral Language Development Acquisition.  Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association. Memphis, TN.      
  • * Fain, J. G., Perkins, J. H. et. al. (December 2009). Shattering the Looking Glass of Diversity in the Past: Editors Grappling with the Future. National Reading Conference. Albuquerque, NM.     
  •  *Perkins, J. H. (July. 2010). Engaging the Cognitive Ability of ALL Children of Poverty. 23rd International Reading Association World Congress on Reading. Auckland, NZ.   
  •  Perkins, J. H. (August, 2010).  Maximizing the Cognitive Engagement of All Learners. Egypt Elementary School. Memphis, TN. 
  • Perkins, J. H. (November, 2010). Education Makes the Difference. Central High School Honor Students. Memphis, TN. 
  •  Perkins, J. H. (February, 2011). Urban Literacy/Education. Douglas High School Honor Students. Memphis, TN.  
  •  Perkins, J. H. (April, 2011). Teachers Make A Difference. Kappa Delta Pi Lambda Gamma Chapter Initiation.  University of Memphis. Memphis, TN. 
  • *Perkins, J. H. (April, 2011).  Literacy: Impacting the Coummunity. National Association of Junior Auxiliaries Annual Education Conference. Memphis, TN.   
  • Perkins, J. H. (August, 2011 - Keynote Speaker). Nurturing Oral Language Development, Literacy Acquisition & Enhancment. Shelby County Government Early Headstart, PreK-Staff, Delegates & Community Partners Annual Pre-Service Training. Memphis, TN.  
  •  *Perkins, J. H., Cook, C. D., & Malone, S. (Dec. 2011). Science and Literacy: A Marriage That Works. Tennessee Reading Association Conference. Murfreesboro, TN. 

Appendix A - Teaching Experience

  • RDNG 4240 - Literacy in Grades K - 4
  • RDNG 4240 - Literacy in Grades K - 4
  • RDNG 4240 - Literacy Grades in K - 4
  • RDNG 7560 - Online - Literacy Leader and Coach