Boulder Valley School District

Keep Learning Alive During the Summer

Randy Barber
With summer just around the corner, we wanted to provide you with some great literacy and math activities to keep up your student’s learning. Here are some activities for students of all ages to enjoy.
  1. Sign up for the Summer Library Program: Each library in our county has a fantastic summer reading program with prizes and a sheet to set goals and keep track of your reading. Hang the tracking sheet in your home and keep your library card handy! The following library websites will get you started:
    Louisville  http://www.louisville-­‐


  1. Read TO your child: Cuddle up and read to your child. You are never too old to hear books read aloud in any language. Let your child hear you enjoy the story, wondering, questioning and thinking out loud as you read. Don’t insist that your child is silent as you read. Instead, encourage them to share and talk about the book with you. “I wonder why… I notice that in this picture…Hmmm,  let’s read that part again to make sure we understand… So what’s happened so far is… I love this part where the author… Oh that character is so...”  

For older students, you may want to pick a chapter book series that is a bit too hard for your child to read independently and read a chapter out loud to him/her every day. Hearing books read out loud not only increases vocabulary and comprehension but the memories you are making together motivate readers to seek out more books. Avoid making reading time “quiz time.” Enjoy the book together.  


3. Fill your home with books: Research tells us that one of the most basic differences between a proficient reader and a struggling reader is the volume of words, books, poems and songs he or she is engaged in. A book-filled home inspires learning and nurtures a love of reading. The public library has many books to choose from that can be borrowed free of charge. Make a special library basket at home, fill it up with books your child helps choose, and switch them out often at the public library.  


For more literacy activities for elementary students, see this document in English or Spanish.



  1. Recognize Geometry in your world
    Talk about shapes—rectangles, circles, triangles, squares and more complex shapes like hexagons, trapezoids, dodecahedrons and shapes within shapes in nature. Ask them to describe buildings you see using shape-names or have them draw a picture of a place  you visited using only straight-edged shapes. Let them be creative. For older students, bring angles into the conversation. What happens if the engineer is off by just a few degrees at the bottom of the bridge? Is the city you live in or are visiting designed on a grid system or not? Why is that good or bad?  

    Visit Geometry Point in Romero Park in Lafayette at 201 S. Bermont St., Lafayette, Co. The park is supported by the Center for STEM Learning at CU-Boulder.   Engage your child in the interactive activities in the park at this site.

  2. Estimate lengths, distances and time.
    Our kids are never too old to practice estimating distance.  Help them to learn how to estimate by talking about the distance between cars. Talk about safe driving with the guide that each ten miles per hour should be a car length. What’s a car length? How far is three car lengths?  

    Estimate lengths on the sidewalk or distances to the next tree. Ask them to estimate how many miles your car will go on this tank of gas and then wait to see the answer! Have them explain how they came to their estimate and really listen to the answer.

    If you are doing a remodeling or building project, ask your child to estimate lengths in feet, meters, inches, centimeters and even imaginary units like pencils or ear lobes. Involving your child in the discussion not only improves his/her mathematical thinking, it involves you in the learning.  

  3. Tech tools

If your child is interested in technology, have them explore fun applications that are specifically tailored towards fun. For elementary students, check out our list of online math resources and apps here.


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