Summer Reads VISTA

Summer Reads

Impact the life of a child this summer

Summer Reads VISTAs serve as literacy mentors to children in grades K-3 from low-income families in schools, libraries and community programs across the state. VISTAs help children improve their literacy skills and fight the summer slide. Under the mentoring of an on-site supervisor, VISTAs serve in a variety of program environments. They may use the site's curriculum, or design their own lesson plans; work with children one-on-one, or in small or large groups; provide tutoring, or bring literacy to life through cooking, theater, games, gardening and more; assist program staff or volunteers in facilitating programming, or lead a program themselves - depending on the site's needs and program model. 

Summer Reads VISTAs serve full-time (approximately 40 hours per week, Monday-Friday daytime) in pairs at one or two placement sites - including reflection and planning with a direct on-site supervisor, training, program planning, and travel between sites.

Capstone Project

A select few Summer Reads VISTAs work on a "Capstone" in addition to serving at a program site in order to create resources for future Summer Reads VISTAs, sites, and other children's literacy tutors. Check out past capstones and other children's literacy tutor resources.

Gain experience, insight and sense of self

“This was by far one of the best summers I have ever had in my life! I have never felt so accomplished, yet at the same time have never had more of a drive to continue to make a difference in children’s lives.” - Summer Reads VISTA

Summer Reads VISTAs leave the program proud of their many accomplishments and experiences and committed to continuing to make a difference. After their summer of service, VISTAs have a greater understanding of their own strengths and personal goals and build lasting personal and professional connections.

Check out the highlights from last year, and a brief video featuring Summer Reads VISTA members at partner site West 7th Community Center in Saint Paul in 2013: Strong Readers, Strong Leaders


Benefits and eligibility

  • Choice of $1,252 Education Award or $276 post-service cash stipend (Education Award may be used for qualified federal student loans, school tuition, non-degree enrichment classes and more)
  • Bi-weekly living allowance of approximately $472 (pre-tax) 
  • Mileage reimbursement for service-related travel (between site placements and to Summer Reads trainings)
  • Federal student loan forbearance
  • Must be able to serve full-time for 8 weeks from June through August, or 10 weeks for Outreach Specialists (approx. 40 hours per week)
  • Must be at least 18 years of age and a U.S. citizen, national or legal permanent resident 
  • Additional language skills, especially in Spanish, Somali, Hmong, or Karen desired, though not required
  • Educational background or volunteer or work experience in education, literacy, youth development, child development, social work or nonprofits preferred but not required

*Wondering if you can do Summer Reads and then also do Literacy VISTA or another AmeriCorps or other national service program afterward? The answer in most cases is yes! For more details, just ask.


To apply

Summer Reads is currently accepting applications for Twin Cities positions! Please check back in March 2018 for applications to Summer Reads positions outside the Twin Cities metro area.

To apply, you must first create an account/profile on My AmeriCorps. Complete all sections, including two references (educational or professional, in a supervisory type relationship, such as teacher/professor, work or volunteer supervisor, clergy, counselor, or coach). Then apply to the specific position or positions that you are interested in. Then follow the links below to apply to the specific Summer Reads position(s) in which you are interested.  **Before you submit your application, please read the instructions on how to complete the application here.**

There are two types of Summer Reads VISTA positions available in the Twin Cities 7-county metro area:

  • Summer Reads VISTA - Metro Twin Cities Area: Change a child's life this summer! Tutor young children to improve their literacy and reading skills. Use your creativity to engage kids in learning activities that will keep their minds sharp! (Term of service: June 11 - August 5, 2018)
  • Summer Reads VISTA - Outreach Specialist: Fight the summer slide! Use your previous experience tutoring or teaching children to provide peer mentoring to first-time VISTA tutors towards making a huge impact on kids' reading skills this summer. (Term of service: June 4 - August 12, 2018)
  • Summer Reads VISTA - Returning Member: If you have served in Summer Reads previously and your MyAmeriCorps account is blocked from applying to this year's position listing, try this position listing instead.

​In the Twin Cities, candidates first apply to the Summer Reads program, and then if offered a position, will be matched to a site placement after all VISTAs have been selected. Candidates may make requests at the time of the interview. Site placements in the Twin Cities in 2017 included:

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities (multiple locations)

Centro Guadalupano at Holy Rosary Church

Columbia Heights Community Education

East Side Learning Center

Eastside Neighborhood Services

Emerge Villages

Emma's Place

Fridley Public Schools

Hospitality House for Youth Development

Interfaith Action of Greater St Paul (Department of Indian Work)

Keystone - West 7th Community Center

Minneapolis Public Schools (multiple locations)

Oakdale, North St. Paul, and Maplewood Public Schools

Opportunity Neighborhood at Ames Lake

Pillsbury Brian Coyle Center

Pillsbury House & Theatre

Pillsbury Waite House

Sabathani Community Center

Simpson Housing Services

St Paul Public Libraries (multiple locations)

Urban Strategies

Summer Reads positions in other communities in greater Minnesota: 

Candidates interested in serving outside the Twin Cities apply directly to the site of their interest. Term of service: June 11 - August 5, 2018

  • AitkinLooking for a life changing opportunity? You can help save a student from a life without literacy.  
  • BarnumSpend your summer helping students learn about literacy while having fun! Join our top-notch Summer Reads staff in Barnum while gaining experience and training in an educational setting. 
  • Caledonia: With collaboration, integrity, and innovation, Caledonia Area Elementary with their Caledonia Library partner will soar into summer reading and literacy enrichment experiences with you. 
  • DuluthSummer Reads in Duluth gives VISTAs the opportunity to inspire a love of reading and build children's reading skills through interactive, literacy infused cultural, artistic & life skills activities. 
  • Ely: Looking for a learning adventure? Join our team of educators at the edge of the Boundary Waters for fun, challenging literacy work that builds a child’s ability to thrive & your leadership skills. 
  • Fairmont: Do you want to make a difference in a child’s life?  Share your love of reading with a child and give the gift of literacy to last a lifetime! 
  • KerkhovenIf you are energetic, self-motivated, kind, love working with children, love to read and help with children’s needs, then KMS Camp Read-a-lot is looking for you to join our team this summer! 
  • MorrisEducation won’t fizzle at Summer Sizzle! We are looking for VISTAs to provide reading and literacy instruction to students over the course of the summer in a fun, upbeat environment. Come join us! 
  • Northfield: Want to make a difference in the lives of youth & work with elementary youth this summer? Affect a child’s life by joining Summer PLUS. Don’t miss the chance to work with youth literacy in Northfield. 



Please contact LaTiona,, 651-251-9088.

Are you a school or organization looking for info about how to host VISTA members? Check here!

Pass it on!

Want to invite others to join Summer Reads? Download our flyer and pass it on!

Interested in a year-round opportunity or working behind-the-scenes?

We also have 12-month full-time AmeriCorps VISTA positions through our Literacy VISTA program, which places VISTAs in schools and nonprofits to work behind the scenes and build the capacity of literacy-focused programs that serve low-income children, youth, adults or families. Check it out! Yes, it is possible to do both Summer Reads and a full-year VISTA or other AmeriCorps program. 

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