Summer Reads

Summer Reads VISTA reads to children
AmeriCorps VISTA

Summer Reads

Host Summer Reads VISTAs

Does your summer school or community program serve low-income children entering grades K-4 who are reading below grade level? Host Summer Reads VISTAs during the summer to serve as children's literacy mentors.


VISTA member reads to two children

We are not currently accepting applications for Summer Reads host sites.

What is AmeriCorps VISTA?

AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers IService TAmerica) is a federal government national service program. It was started in 1965 as a domestic equivalent to the Peace Corps, for full-time volunteers to lead anti-poverty projects at nonprofits, grassroots organizations and public agencies. At the same time, VISTA members build their own leadership, explore career paths, pay for college and become lifelong advocates for the communities they serve due to the power of their experience.

What do you mean by “literacy education”?
Summer Reads VISTAs serve in schools, out-of-school time programs, libraries and other nonprofits and public agencies to work on reading, writing, oral language and/or digital communication skills with children entering grades K-4.

What are VISTAs’ schedules?

VISTAs serve full-time (average 40 hours per week) for 8 weeks during the summer. In summer 2020, the service term is June 11-August 9:

  • June 11-12: VISTA Member Orientation
  • June 15: first day at host sites
  • Most Fridays: half-day in-service trainings
  • August 7: End of Service culminating event

Host sites in the Twin Cities may host full-time or part-time; if part-time, sharing their VISTAs with another part-time site.

Host sites in Greater Minnesota must provide a full-time service experience for the full 8 weeks, whether at one site location or multiple as coordinated by the primary host site.

What can Summer Reads VISTAs do/not do?

VISTAs can work on literacy practice in a variety of program contexts and subjects, from academic to enrichment-based, and from one-on-one sessions to large group activities. They bring literacy to life through many subjects, such as cooking, gardening, large motor recreation, homework help, tutoring, arts, drama, science experiments, and more. They support the curriculum and program model of your site.

A 5-minute video, featuring first-grader Savon at Keystone Community Services-West 7th Community Center, shows how fun, engaging and effective learning with Summer Reads can be.

What are my responsibilities as a host site?
You provide the vision and workplan for your VISTAs, orientation to your site, on-site direct supervision of your VISTAs, and a small financial match.

Greater Minnesota sites are also responsible for recruiting and selecting your VISTA members, with support from our staff, while Literacy Minnesota staff hires and matches VISTAs serving in the Twin Cities to metro area sites.

Your cost-share financial match:

  • $250 per part-time VISTA
  • $400 per full-time VISTA

Literacy Minnesota provides training and technical assistance to you and the VISTAs throughout the program. 

Host sites are typically awarded at least 2 VISTAs per site location.

Are VISTAs paid? What do they receive for their service?
Benefits for all AmeriCorps VISTAs include:

  • modest living allowance, set to the poverty rate of the county in which they serve
  • Education Award scholarship for future tuition or eligible federal student loan payments
  • service related travel reimbursement

Literacy Minnesota additionally provides our VISTA members:

  • weekly member trainings
  • an Employee Assistance Program
  • participation in the Transit Assistance Program (TAP) for subsidized rides on Metro Transit


Please contact Meghan at or 651-251-9069.