Summer Reads VISTA

**We are not currently accepting applications. Please check back in the February for information about applying to Summer Reads 2016.** 


Impact the life of a child this summer

Summer Reads VISTAs provide quality tutoring and literacy enrichment to children in grades K-3 from low-income families. VISTAs serve in summer schools, libraries and community organizations, with the goal of helping children improve their literacy skills and fight the summer slide. Some VISTAs provide one-to-one or small group literacy tutoring to children in summer schools or community programs. Other VISTAs serve at community programs or libraries where they find creative ways to incorporate literacy and enrichment activities into large group or drop-in programming.

Summer Reads VISTAs serve full-time (approximately 40 hours per week). This typically includes 28-32 hours of meaningful work at 1-2 sites and 8-12 hours of reflection and planning with a direct site supervisor, training, program planning and travel between sites.

Capstone Project

A select number of Summer Reads VISTAs additionally work on a group applied research project, or "Capstone", as part of their service. Capstone projects are intended to benefit all sites and advance the field of children's literacy. For example, one capstone project group created a rubric for assessing educational/literacy-related iPad apps and websites, tested the rubric, and created a website displaying the top-rated apps/websites in a variety of categories. Check out past capstone projects (and other children's literacy tutor resources) here

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 $1,212 Education Award or approximately $230 post-service stipend (Education Award may be used for student loans, school tuition, non-degree enrichment classes, and more)
  • Bi-weekly living allowance of approximately $449-453 (pre-tax) (depending on county of service)
  • 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 (approx. 40 hours per week) (10 weeks for Outreach Specialists)
  • Must be at least 18 years of age and a U.S. citizen, national or legal permanent resident alien
  • Additional language skills 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


To apply

Summer Reads VISTAs serve in the metro Twin Cities area and in select communities across greater Minnesota. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until all positions are filled. The priority deadline is March 31 and final deadline April 30

**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 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 15-August 9
  • Summer Reads 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 3-August 11
  • Summer Reads - Returning Member: This position listing is only for applicants who have previously served in Summer Reads and have problems applying to the regular location-based position listing(s).

Summer Reads VISTA positions available in greater Minnesota:

  • Summer Reads - Aitkin, MN: Summer Reads VISTAs in Rippleside Elementary School in Atikin, MN help students get involved in fun, literacy-rich activities and be exposed to many different authors and genre of books in the morning. In the afternoon, they will be engaged in fun and challenging math problems/activities that will solidify basic math skills. 

  • Summer Reads - Ely, MN: Our Summer Reads Ely program is supported by the school district and our Ely Public Library and runs for 8 weeks this summer. Many of this year’s students did not come to school reading-ready initially, and Summer Reads VISTAs will have an opportunity to make a big difference in their school experience next year!

  • Summer Reads - Northfield, MN:The Summer PLUS program in Northfield Public Schools provides life-changing literacy services for children by providing academic and social-emotional support during the summer months. Summer PLUS provides high-quality literacy tutoring to low-income children in grades K-3 in schools and community organizations in Northfield.

  • Summer Reads - Barnum, MN: Our Summer Reads VISTAs in Barnum ( a small town of approx 500 off of I35) help students learn all about literacy while having fun! VISTAs will plan and implement Camp Read-a-lot program to promote literacy, conduct weekly one on one tutoring sessions with students, keep a daily log of sessions, conduct pre and post assessments of student reading levels, and work on literacy skills such as fluency and vocabulary.

  • Summer Reads - Duluth, MN: Myers-Wilkins Community School Collaborative takes a preventive approach to addressing poverty’s negative impact on youth by working closely with students and their families to develop the skills they need to become educated and/or active members of the community. VISTAs will serve as integral team members, helping to plan, organize, and lead summer school activities focusing on the literacy aspects of performing and cultural arts and academic content areas.

  • Summer Reads - Fairmont, MN: Reading Adventures with Summer Reads-Fairmont Community Education and Recreation (CER) will feature a variety of opportunities and experiences to enrich children’s learning and enjoyment of reading and related literacy activities when school is not in session. Members will help children develop a regular habit of reading through creative and fun enrichment activities at CER in the Fairmont Elementary School.

  • Summer Reads - Kerhoven/Murdock, MN:  Kerkoven-Murdock School Camp Read-A-lot program has a variety of reading activities for students including: read to self, timed fluency reading, read to helpers, listening to reading to improve comprehension, writing stories, reading leveled readers and many more. 

  • Summer Reads - Morris, MN: Morris Area Community Education is working to close the achievement gap for our Kindergarten through Sixth grade students by helping our students to have an academic program that runs almost all summer long.The Summer Reads VISTAs work one-on-one and with groups of students who need assistance with learning to read.


  • 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 above to apply to the specific Summer Reads position(s) in which you are interested.  

We recommend that you also take a look at these additional tips on filling out the application



Please contact Meghan,, 651-251-9069.

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!