The Bilingual Boost – Success through Language

Wednesday October 25, 2017
By Kumon Canada
Success Stories

This story is one of several featuring the successes of our Kumon students. After enjoying this one, be sure to check out a few more of our Kumon Success Stories!


Tiffany is a prime example of what is possible when early learning and language learning cross-paths. Studies have found that bilingual people perform better on tasks that require focus and multi-tasking when compared to monolinguals. Her success in both the Kumon Math and Reading Program would support that even further. There’s more research too: brain scans show that bilingual people have more gray matter in the regions of their brain that are involved in executive function.

Even though the research supports her success, there’s no disputing the fact that Tiffany is especially wise for her age. We wanted to feature her story because of her amazing progress in the Kumon program. Please enjoy the video and refer to the below transcript of this Inspirational Story Feature. We hope you’ll feel as inspired as we do!

the bilingual boost


Tiffany's Story

There once was a girl named Tiffany,
Who managed to finish level J unconditionally,
She was only in grade 6,
With many mistakes to fix,
But that didn't stop her from keeping her consistency.

My name is Tiffany Lee. I'm 14 years old and I live in Vancouver Canada. When I was born, my mom was still finishing her bachelor's degree, so I went to live with my dad's side of the family in China and I came back to Vancouver to start kindergarten. For any five-year-old, I guess it's kind of weird speaking a different language at home than you are at school. I also went to a French immersion elementary school.

I spoke Cantonese with my dad and I spoke Mandarin with my mom and then at school I would have to speak English to all my classmates, but then we were learning French too. I think it was a lot to take in and I was a really shy kid too. Usually what I’d do when I walked into a room, is I would latch onto the first Chinese kid I saw!

When I was six I went to Kumon for the first time and they just got me to trace some letters… and back then it just all looked like a bunch of lines to me, but then the next month I traced some words and eventually the words became sentences and the sentences became paragraphs and then the paragraphs… well they were just paragraphs…

Then eventually I started reading. Kumon definitely helped with my English. Math, like I didn't know what math was back then… But for English it was pretty awesome because they had me read passages out loud and then I started writing. I don't think I would have learned that much at school considering we were learning French at the time too.

Kumon definitely helped with my English.

Instructor Anne: "With Tiffany, she is always the one of the stronger students in reading but I was trying to make her “J by 6” in math and that was a bit more challenging.”

There are several times I was thinking of leaving or taking a long extended break but then Miss Ran would always come up with a better solution.

Instructor Anne: “I actually gave her the solution manual. I talked to her, every week, about the book she had to read. We looked at the questions she had trouble with at home, and we would have class time for us to help her. Then she went home with a lot of books to study next week.”

In Kumon, they give out a lot of exercises to do. Not like running exercises, no, but like math exercises… So even though everyone's learning the same thing at school, because of Kumon and all the practice I did, I'm just faster at calculating stuff.

My job as a Kumon Instructor... is about raising a child to be strong and independent.

I'm more of an independent student so I like the fact that Miss Ran, she is not the one pushing me but she's just there like, “you can come to me when you need me”.

Instructor Anne: “You give them some flexibility, and they come back with a lot more done. But if you are very rigid about every page, every question, how they should do it - then they will rebel.”

One thing I do with Miss Ran that I don't do a lot with regular teachers is I email her if I'm too stressed, let's say, in school, and I just kind of need a break or so, I keep in touch with her.

Instructor Anne: “My Job as a Kumon instructor is not just helping children through the worksheets, it's really about raising a child to be a very strong and independent human being.”

With all the challenging work at a young age,
She’s learned to not let the stress turn into rage,
And took a lot of control,
To finally reach her goal,
But she still managed to turn every page.


If you enjoyed this article, check out some of our other success stories here. To find out more about the Kumon program and what it can do for your child, schedule a parent orientation at a centre near you!