Student in the spotlight

Bilingual student completes advanced work

Mung Cing, 5, a kindergartner at Rogers Elementary School, is fluent in both English and her native Zomi. While her parents do not speak English, Mung Cing was taught the language by her older sister, and is able to complete assignments at a first grade level.

Mung Cing, 5, a kindergartner at Rogers Elementary School, is fluent in both English and her native Zomi. While her parents do not speak English, Mung Cing was taught the language by her older sister, and is able to complete assignments at a first grade level.

Mung Cing, 5, is a hardworking, student attending Rogers Elementary School. As a kindergartner, Mung Cing is constantly being exposed to new sights, sounds and concepts. The child has worked hard to become bilingual and participates in her school’s English Language Learning (ELL) program.

“I’ve never had a student that came with so many kindergarten skills [at the start of the school year,”] said ELL instructor Cheryl Dunham. “When she started at our school, she did a screening test because she came from Malaysia, but we found she’s a fluent English speaker.”

What made this all the more surprising to the faculty is the fact that Mung Cing’s parents cannot speak English, and only converse with her at home in their native Zomi.

“Mung Cing’s older sister, Vung Khual Lun, who is 11, taught her how to speak English,” Dunham said. “And when Vung Khual Lun came to Rogers her fourth grade year, she did not speak English.”

Mung Cing described these English sessions as her sibling “playing teacher” with her.

When asked what her favorite aspect of school is the kindergarten replied, “I like to learn about words.”

Despite her grasp of the English language, instructors provide her with extra support.

“We’ve had her join a reading group with first graders because she can read well, but she needs help with comprehension,” Dunham said. “There are so many things that are new to her [in the United States], so she doesn’t understand what she reads as well.”

Homeroom teacher Susan Eggleston said the child takes a very active role in her education, and completes accelerated homework assignments.

“Mung Cing is striving very hard to learn in school and at home,” Eggleston said. “She is reading at a first-grade level and has achieved 100 percent on our ST math program. She is not afraid to ask questions to make sure she understands what we are learning about. She even called the school on her own to talk to me to find out how to get on the Symbaloo (application) on the school website.”

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com