Summer Reads VISTA

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. 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; act as a classroom assistant or lead a program themselves - depending on the site's needs. 

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 site supervisor, training, program planning and travel between sites.

Capstone Project

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.

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 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 $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 
  • Additional language skills, especially in Spanish, Somali, Hmong, Ojibwe, Dakota 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 no longer accepting applications for the 2016 program. Please check back again in early February 2017 for information about applying to serve in summer 2017.** 

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 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! (June 13-August 7)
  • 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.  (June 1-August 9) 

​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 include:

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

Centro Guadalupano at Holy Rosary Church

Columbia Heights Community Education

Columbia Heights Public Schools

East Side Learning Center

East Side 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)

North St Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale Public Schools

Osseo Area Schools - Freedom School

Park Ave United Methodist Church - Freedom School

Pillsbury House & Theatre

Pillsbury Waite House

Sabathani Community Center

Simpson Housing Services

St Paul Public Libraries (multiple locations)

St Paul Public Schools Discovery Club (multiple locations)

Twin Cities Housing - Liberty Plaza

Urban Strategies

Summer Reads has additional positions in other communities in Minnesota: 

  • Aitkin: Looking for a life changing opportunity? You can help save a student from a life without literacy. (June 6-July 31)
  • Barnum: Spend 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. (June 6-July 31)
  • Duluth: Summer 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. (June 13-August 7)
  • Ely: A group of K-3 grade students needs your help! Join our dedicated team of educators at the edge of the Boundary Waters for fun and challenging reading activities designed to prevent the summer slide! (June 6-July 31)
  • 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! (June 6-July 31)
  • Kerkhoven: If 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! (June 6-July 31)
  • Morris: Education 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! (June 6-July 31)
  • Northfield: Do you like helping others? Interested in working with elementary youth this summer? Change a child’s life by joining Summer PLUS. Don’t miss the chance to work with youth and literacy in Northfield. (June 13-August 7)

 

Questions?

Please contact Meghan, mpaulcook@mnliteracy.org, 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!

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! It is possible to do both of our programs.