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Parent keeps childrens' study skills sharp during summer

By Carolina Astrain
June 21, 2014 at 1:21 a.m.

Fabian Ramirez reads an encyclopedia with an electronic pen. When he taps a word, the reference book gives the definition of the word.

The Ramirez Plan

Brandi Ramirez is a Victoria resident with two children in elementary school and a toddler. Here are a few of the activities Ramirez planned for her students this summer and summers past.

• Thirty minutes of reading every day. Anything they want. Through a program with the Victoria school district for students who read five books over the summer, students can win a trip to Splashway, a nearby water park.

• Science experiments. Ramirez looks online for science experiment ideas and has used some involving mints in soda, soap and pepper.

• On their way to Branson, Mo., Ramirez is planning a sightseeing treasure hunt and plans to teach them facts about the Show Me State.

Source: Brandi Ramirez

Summer has arrived.

For students, the season signals a time of fun and relaxation, but the need to flex their academic skills becomes more important in the absence of school.

The effects of summer learning loss widens the achievement gap, and based on answers from 500 teachers, 66 percent of teachers spend three to four weeks helping students relearn material, according to a survey and research by the National Summer Learning Association.

For students, a two-month period with critical thinking skills at rest could be what keeps them from advancing on time.

Victoria resident Brandi Ramirez makes summer learning and skill conditioning for her three young boys a priority.

"I've always done something," Ramirez, 29, said. "They don't always get a 100 percent break during the summer."

Last year, Ramirez said one of her sons was struggling with writing, so her focus that summer was on developing writing and reading exercises.

Her school-age sons, Xavier and Fabian, like to read video game, explorer and mystery books. They also take a trip to the Victoria Public Library every two weeks with their grandmother.

Ramirez said she reads to her youngest son, Jaxen, 1.

"I've already started a little collection for him," Ramirez said. "One of our favorite books is 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar.'"



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