Mesquite ISD First Grader Has Love of Languages

With the help of the internet, 6-year-old Iris Perez is learning to be multi-lingual

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While most kindergarten and first-grade students are learning to read and write in one language, 6-year-old Iris Perez is teaching herself those skills in multiple languages.

"When I entered kindergarten, I started learning the languages," Perez said. "I'm six, and I speak nine languages."

Perez is now in first grade at Range Elementary in Mesquite. She attends classes remotely. In her spare time, with the help of the internet, Perez has taught herself French, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, American Sign Language, and more.

"I know one of the easiest ones, which is Korean," Perez said in English, followed by something in Korean. "That means 'hello'."

Perez is Cuban-American and grew up speaking Spanish at home. When she enrolled in pre-k at Range Elementary, she became fluent in English.

"I speak Italian," Perez said. "That was one of my undiscovered languages."

"She has completely changed my life, and taught me so many different things, and taught us a few languages," Perez's former kindergarten teacher Chelsea Nowell said. "She's amazing. She's an amazing little girl."

We asked Perez why she wanted to learn so many languages. "So one day I could travel to those places," Perez said. "So I could communicate with the people."

Perez said she wants to be a teacher when she grows up, and an astronaut.

"Nah, kidding," Perez said. "I just would love to go to space!"

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