Summer Reads VISTA

** Summer Reads is no longer accepting applications for the 2014 summer program. Information about applying to Summer Reads for the 2015 program will be available in mid February 2015, with an application deadline at the end of April 2015, for positions starting in June 2015. **


Impact the life of a child this summer

Summer Reads VISTAs provide quality tutoring 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. Mornings are typically spent providing one-to-one literacy tutoring to children in summer schools. Afternoons are typically spent at community sites and libraries, where VISTAs find creative ways to incorporate literacy and enrichment activities into programming.

Summer Reads VISTAs serve full-time (approximately 40 hours per week). This typically includes 28-32 hours of meaningful work at 1-3 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 the website 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 results of the 2014 program, 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 $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 $450 (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
  • Cannot hold another job during your term of service
  • Additional language skills in Spanish, Somali, Hmong or Karen desired, though not required


To apply

Summer Reads VISTAs serve in the metro Twin Cities area and in select communities across Greater Minnesota. We are no longer accepting applications for Summer Reads 2014. Check back again next February for information about applying to Summer Reads 2015. 

**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 9-August 3
  • 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 2-August 10

Summer Reads VISTA positions available in greater Minnesota:

  • AitkinThis is a great summer opportunity to connect and work with students in a fun, educational learning environment. Work with students grades K-6 in a Summer Literacy & Math enrichment program.Term of service: June 6-August 1
  • BarnumDo you remember the person who instilled your love of reading? You could have that impact on students in our program while working with top-notch staff and gaining experience and training. Term of service: June 6-August 1
  • 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. Term of service: June 6-August 1
  • ElyRecently voted Coolest Small Town in America, Ely will host fun and challenging reading activities for pre-K-3rd graders in a variety of settings. Join us at the edge of the Boundary Waters! Term of service: June 6-August 1
  • FairmontDo 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! Term of service: June 6-August 1 
  • Kerkhoven/MurdockEnergetic, enthusiastic, full of ideas, great readers, interact with children: What the KMS Camp Read-A-Lot is looking for to join the team this summer! Term of service: June 6-August 1
  • Little Falls/PierzDo you like helping children? Would you like professional experience and training that looks good on your resume? Change a child’s life this summer by joining Summer ReadsTerm of service: June 6-August 1
  • NorthfieldAre you interested in working with elementary aged youth this summer? This is an opportunity to work with youth and literacy through the Northfield Summer PLUS program. Term of service: June 9-August 3
  • RochesterHave a blast while working at summer camp with Boys and Girls Club and the Rochester Area Family YMCA. You will partner with both organizations to help make a difference in the lives of youth in our community. Term of service: June 9-August 3

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 applicationWe are no longer accepting applications for Summer Reads 2014. Check back again next February for information about applying to Summer Reads 2015. 



Please contact Meghan Paul-Cook, Summer Reads Coordinator,, 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!