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 may use the host 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. Programs are typically granted two VISTA members to work together throughout the summer but may request more than two.
Check out some highlights from last year's program, and a brief video featuring Summer Reads VISTA members at partner site Keystone Community Services-West 7th Community Center in Saint Paul: Strong Readers, Strong Leaders.
A select number of the Summer Reads VISTAs work on a "Capstone" in addition to serving at a site to create resources for future Summer Reads VISTAs, sites and other children's literacy programs. Check out past capstones and other children's literacy tutor resources here.
Summer Reads VISTAs serve full-time (approximately 40 hours per week), Monday-Friday, for eight weeks. Although our preference is to place VISTAs full-time at a single site, sites in the Twin Cities do not need to have full-time programming or programming for the full eight weeks - some VISTAs may serve at two sites in order to create a full-time schedule. Sites in greater Minnesota, outside of the Twin Cities core metro, must ensure the VISTAs are in service full-time, whether that involves programming at just one site or at multiple program sites. This year, the VISTA term of service will run from June 11 - August 5, 2018.
How do I apply to be a Summer Reads host site?
Please submit your application using the online form here. Host site applications are due by Thursday, February 15, 2018, 11:59pm. Before applying, please read through the Summer Reads Site FAQ for more details about the program and expectations for host sites.
Sites are asked to provide a one-time, small financial match toward Summer Reads to contribute to expenses not covered by the Corporation for National and Community Service (AmeriCorps VISTA), such as training and "literacy kits" (program supplies, materials and books) for the VISTA members. The cost-share rate is:
- $175 per VISTA member for half-days (4 hours or less per day)
- $275 per VISTA member for full days (more than 4 hours per day)
VISTA Supervisor trainings
If your site is selected, VISTA Supervisors are required to attend a training that covers expectations for host sites and supervisors, program policies and procedures, and more. Please register in advance (firstname.lastname@example.org, 651-251-9151).
Monday, February 26, 1-3pm, webinar
Twin Cities (Minneapolis, St Paul, or suburbs):
May 7, 1-3pm, at Minnesota Literacy Council (700 Raymond Ave, Ste 180, St Paul, MN 55114)
May 9, 10am-12pm, at Minnesota Literacy Council (700 Raymond Ave, Ste 180, St Paul, MN 55114)
Did you know?
Minnesota Literacy Council additionally has a year-round VISTA program. Literacy VISTAs serve behind-the-scenes full-time for 12 months to help organizations create, expand or improve literacy-focused programming for children, youth, adults or families. Literacy VISTA projects typically are renewed for 3-5 years. Organizations may host Summer Reads VISTAs and a Literacy VISTA. Find out more here.