Summer Reads members serve as literacy mentors to children entering grades K-4 from low-income families in schools, libraries and community programs across the state. Members 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 Summer Reads members to work together throughout the summer but may request more than two.
Check out 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.
Some years, a few Summer Reads members work on a "Capstone" in addition to serving at a site to create resources for future Summer Reads members, sites and other children's literacy programs. Check out past capstones and other children's literacy tutor resources here.
Summer Reads Members Schedules
Summer Reads members serve full-time (approximately 40 hours per week), Monday-Friday, for eight weeks. Although our preference is to place members 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 members 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 members are in service full-time, whether that involves programming at just one site or at multiple program sites.
2020 VISTA service term: June 11-August 7, 2020 (tentative)
June 11-12, 2020: required VISTA Member Orientation
June 13, 2020: VISTAs' first day at sites
Most Fridays: VISTA member required trainings (half-days)
August 7, 2020: VISTA Member End of Service Event
Greater Minnesota sites interview and place their own Summer Reads members, while Minnesota Literacy Council reviews applications, conducts interviews and then places members for host sites in the Twin Cities. All sites statewide are expected to actively recruit candidates to Summer Reads.
How do I apply to be a Summer Reads host site?
Submit your application online here by February 21, 2020, for summer 2020.
Host sites in greater Minnesota (outside of Minneapolis, St Paul, and suburbs) must include a draft of their Service Opportunity with their application (a position description that will be posted on the AmeriCorps member application website).
Before applying, please read through the Summer Reads Site FAQ for more details about the program and expectations for host sites.
Host sites contribute a one-time, small financial match ("cost-share") 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 Summer Reads members. The cost-share rate is:
- $250 per Summer Reads member for half-days (4 hours or less per day)
- $400 per Summer Reads member for full days (more than 4 hours per day)
Summer Reads Supervisor trainings
If your site is selected, Summer Reads 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 here.
March 6, 2020, 10am-12pm (webinar)
Twin Cities (Minneapolis, St Paul, or suburbs):
May 12, 2020, 1-3pm (MN Literacy Council main office);
May 14, 2020, 10am-12pm (MN Literacy Council main office); or
May 26, 2020, 4:30-6pm (Minneapolis Public Schools Davis Center - priority given to MPS summer school/community education sites)
Did you know?
Minnesota Literacy Council additionally has a year-round VISTA program. Literacy Leaders 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 Leader projects typically are renewed for 3-5 years. Organizations may host Summer Reads members and a Literacy Leader. Find out more here.