Most students lose two months of math skills, and low-income students tend to lose even more than that in reading achievement, according to the National Summer Learning Association, which is advocating Summer Learning Day on Friday, June 19.

Combatting summer learning loss is crucial to a student’s retention of knowledge and skills gained during the previous school year. Summer learning is also important to bridge from one year to the next and to hit the ground running when fall comes around.

It often takes effort to provide high-quality activities and learning opportunities, but it’s absolutely imperative to a child’s success. Here are some tips and ideas to help you get going.

  • Provide books. Keep books around the house and in the car. Trips to the library can be a fun excursion, and a library card is an excellent way to teach responsibility. Help your children find books that are their reading level and that interest them. Sometimes all it takes is one great book to get a child hooked on reading.
  • Read with your children. It shows that you value reading, and it provides a teaching and bonding opportunity.
  • Reward reading. Participate in a summer reading program at a local library or create your own. You can download free reading logs or be creative and make a fun bookworm to track progress. (Click here for a bookworm example and here for a reading log.)
  • Monitor comprehension. Summer reading helps students maintain comprehension and vocabulary, but it’s best if an adult figure can provide reading guidance. Ask your children questions about the story—characters, plots, symbols, themes—to see if they understand what they’re reading. Open up a discussion and let them ask questions.
  • Put aside time for math practice. Get a bridge book, print out worksheets, find math games online, hire a tutor, practice counting money at lemonade stands, or estimate gas mileage.
  • Plan learning activities. Go on field trips, take guided tours of museums or factories, go to the zoo, check out the aquarium, visit the planetarium, find a storytelling festival, play board games (especially word games like Bananagrams or Boggle), try to grow something, make ice cream, babysit, help with home improvement projects, do puzzles, play typing games, or take music lessons.
  • Help them be creative. Paint, mold, sculpt, draw, sketch, color, choreograph, write or tell stories, build with anything like Legos or cardboard boxes to increase STEM skills, make a scrapbook, put on a puppet theater show, learn origami, make cartoon flip books, or put on a talent show.
  • Encourage children to get moving. Try swimming lessons, learn about plants while hiking, choreograph dances, ride bikes, rollerblade, cool off and go ice skating, master the pogo stick, or find a summer sports camp.

Join the conversation and pledge to #KeepKidsLearning. And while you’re at it, keep yourself learning, too!