The use of i-THINK Mapping in teaching reading comprehension among ESL teachers

Siti Rohaya Sharif, Charanjit Kaur Swaran Singh, Eng Tek Ong, Dodi Mulyadi, llmi Zajuli Ichsan, Henita Rahmayanti, Tee Tze Kiong


This study investigated the use of i-THINK Mapping in teaching reading comprehension by ESL teachers to a group of Form Five students, and the factors and challenges the ESL teachers faced in teaching reading comprehension using i-THINK Mapping. A qualitative approach, specifically a case study design, was employed in this study. Classroom observations, semi-structured interviews, and document analysis of their lesson plans were used to collect the data. Four ESL teachers with a minimum of 5-year teaching experience in a rural secondary school in Hulu Selangor, Malaysia, were selected using a purposive sampling technique to participate in this study. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data obtained from classroom observations and interviews. The findings show that the teachers had applied five i-THINK maps, including a Circle Map to define in context, a Bubble Map to describe, a Double Bubble Map to compare and contrast, a Flow Map to show the sequence of an event, and a Tree Map to classify different ideas. The i-THINK Mapping motivated the students to discuss, brainstorm, and cooperate with their peers to detect the details from the given reading texts. The teachers’ challenges include the time constraints in preparing the lesson with i-THINK Mapping and a low level of student English proficiency. One implication of this study is that teachers’ use of i-THINK Mapping to teach reading comprehension could assist students in generating ideas, expanding ideas, and expressing them orally.


ESL learners; ESL teachers; higher-order thinking skills; i-THINK mapping; reading comprehension

Full Text:



Alfassi, M. (2004). Reading to learn: Effects of combined strategy instruction on high school student. The Journal of Educational Research, 97, 171-185.

Alomari, A. M. (2019). Using mind mapping technique to improve reading comprehension ability of fourth-grade Arabic language students in Jordan. IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science 24(1), 53-58.

Anh, V. T. K. (2017). Evaluating the implementation of action research course in an in-service teacher training program in Vietnam. Journal of Nusantara Studies, 2(2),88-97.

Ary, D., Jacobs, L. C., Sorensen, C., & Razavieh, A. (2010). Introduction to research in education (8th ed). Wadsworth.

Awofala, A. O. A. (2011). Effect of concept mapping strategy on students’ achievement in junior secondary school. Journal of Mathematical Trends and Technology, 2, 11-16.

Azmuddin, R. A., Nor, N. F M., & Hamat, A. (2017). Metacognitive online reading and navigational strategies by science and technology university students. Gema Online: Journal of Language Studies, 17(3), 18-36.

Balakrishnan, B. (2022). Exploring the impact of design thinking tool among design undergraduates: a study on creative skills and motivation to think creatively. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 32, 1799–1812.

Bald, J. (2007). Using phonics to teach reading and spelling. Paul Chapman.

Bloom, B. S. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives, handbook 1: The cognitive domain. David McKay.

Buckingham, J. (2016, November). Focus on phonics: Why Australia should adopt the year 1 phonics screening check [Research report]. The Centre for Independent Studies.

Carrell, P. L., & Eisterhold, J. C. (1983). Schema theory and ESL reading pedagogy. TESOL Quarterly, 17, 553-573.

Chang, K. L., Lin, S. E., Mohamed, A. R., & Ismail, S. A. M. M. (2018). Relooking at the ESL reading comprehension assessment for Malaysian primary schools. English Language Teaching, 11, 146.

Dara, D. (2019). Investigating English reading comprehension problems of Cambodian high school students. American International Journal of Social Science, 8(3), 52-56.

Ebrahimi, S. S. (2012). Reading strategies of Iranian postgraduate English students living at ESL context in the first and second language [Paper presentation]. 2012 International Conference on Education and Management Innovation, Singapore.

Fan, Y. S. (2016). Thinking maps in writing project in English for Taiwanese elementary school students. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 4(1), 36-57.

Fitrisia, D., Tan, K., & Yusuf, Y. (2015). Investigating metacognitive awareness of reading strategies to strengthen students’ performance in reading comprehension. Asia Pacific Journal of Educators & Education, 30, 15-30.

Fraenkel, J. R., Wallen, N. E., & Hyun, H. H. (2012). How to design and evaluate research in education (8th ed.). McGraw-Hill.

Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. Basic Books.

Gopal, R., & Singh, C. K. S. (2020). Arising reading patterns in understanding literary texts. Studies in English Language and Education, 7(2), 407-420.

Haerazi, H., & Irawan, L. (2020). The effectiveness of ECOLA technique to improve reading comprehension in relation to motivation and self-efficacy. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (IJET), 15(01), 61-76.

Hagaman, J. L., Casey, K. J., & Reid, R. (2016). Paraphrasing strategy instruction for struggling readers. Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education for Children and Youth, 60(1), 43–52.

Hammarberg, K., Kirkman, M., & de Lacey, S. (2016). Qualitative research methods: When to use them and how to judge them. Human Reproduction, 31(3), 498-501.

Harrison, A. (2013, July 12). Class divide in boys’ reading skills seen in Pisa scores. BBC News.

Hassan, S. R., Rosli, R., & Zakaria, E. (2016). The use of i-THINK map and questioning to promote higher-order thinking skills in Mathematics. Creative Education, 7(1),1069-1078.

Hollenback, A. F., & Kalchman, M. (2013). Professional development for conceptual change: Extending the paradigm to teaching reading comprehension in US schools. Research Gate, 39(5), 638-655.

Hyerle, D. (2008). Thinking Maps®: A visual language for learning. In A. Okada, S. B. Shum, & T. Sherborne (Eds.), Knowledge cartography: Advanced information and knowledge processing (pp. 73-88). Springer.

Idek, S. (2016, April 11). Thinking maps as a tool in developing oracy in English language learning [Paper presentation]. 7th International Conference on Global Business & Social Entrepreneurship, Sabah, Malaysia.

Iftanti, E. (2012). A survey of the English reading habits of EFL students in Indonesia. TEFLIN Journal, 23(2), 149-164.

Ishak, S. (2015). The impact of thinking maps on enthusiasm, attitude and learning style: An action research study of students in management course. Science Journal of Education. 3(5), 107-113.

Keleş, Ö. (2012). Elementary teacher’s view on mind mapping. International Journal of Education, 4(1), 93-100.

Kiew, S., & Shah, P. (2020). Factors affecting reading comprehension among Malaysian ESL elementary learners. Creative Education, 11, 2639-2659.

Koch, H., & Spörer, N. (2017). Students improve in reading comprehension by learning how to teach reading strategies. An evidence-based approach for teacher education. Psychology Learning & Teaching, 16(2), 197–211.

Kumari, S., & Kumari, S. (2013). Effect of six thinking hats strategy on development of parallel thinking in high school students. Indian Journal of Research, 2(11), 56-59.

Long, D. J., & Carlson, D. (2011). Mind the map: How thinking maps affect student achievement. Networks, 13(2), Article 2.

Mahamod, A., Akup, A. A., & Hassan, H. (2019). The effectiveness of using I-THINK thinking map in enhancing the mastery of Malay language essay writing skills of form 6 in Mukah District. International Journal of Academic Research in Progressive Education and Development, 8(4), 386-401.

Malekzadeh, B., & Bayat, A. (2015). The effect of mind mapping strategy on comprehending implicit information in EFL reading texts. International Journal of Educational Investigations, 2(3), 81-90.

Maxwell, J. A. (1996). Qualitative research design: An interactive approach. Sage.

Madzlan, N. A., Sartho, R. M., & Mokhtar, M. M. (2022). The use of gesticulation to improve ESL learner’s understanding of content words in writing. AJELP: Asian Journal of English Language and Pedagogy, 10(2), 44–55.

Meng, J., Zhao, T., & Chattouphonexay, A. (2012). Teacher questions in a content-based classroom for EFL young learners. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 2(12), 2603-2610.

Murray, S. M. (2016) Language comprehension ability: One of two essential components of reading comprehension. Open Library Pressbook.

Nestle, D. D., & Dixon, C. N. (2008). Using the language experience approach with English language learners: Strategies for engaging students and developing literacy. Corwin Press.

Nurjanah, R. L. (2018). The analysis on students’ difficulties in doing reading comprehension final test. Journal of English Language Literature & Teaching, 2(2), 253–264.

Okafor, P. I. (2021). Influence of school variables on students’ attitude towards schooling in upper basic schools in Ilorin South LGA, Kwara State. Asian Pendidikan, 1(2), 73-81.

Omar, A., & Albakri, I. S. M. A. (2017) Thinking Maps to promote critical thinking through the teaching of literature in ESL context. Indonesian Journal of English Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics, 1(1), 23- 35.

Omar, A., Zubiar, H. A., & Seng, G. H. (2016) Teachers’ implementation of the i-THINK program in the ESL classroom: A case study. International Journal of Science Arts and Commerce, 1(9), 33-45.

Rastegar, M., Kermani, E. M., & Khabir, M. (2017). The Relationship between metacognitive reading strategies use and reading comprehension achievement of EFL learners. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 7, 65-74.

Ridhoni, W., Setyosari, P., Kuswandi, D., Ulfa, S., & Janan, D. (2022). CC thinker: Mobile-based assessment to train creative and critical thinking in students. International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies (iJIM), 16(15), pp. 16–29.

Rizqiya, R. S. (2013). The use of mind mapping in teaching reading comprehension. ELTIN Journal, 1(1), 32-43.

Rusli, N. F. M., & Jamal, N. F. A. (2022). Perbandingan penggunaan gaya pengajaran Grasha-Riechmann oleh guru berdasarkan kaedah pengajaran di dalam bilik darjah dan secara dalam talian [Comparison of the Grasha-Riechmann style based on the teacher’s classroom teaching and online teaching]. PENDETA, 13(2), 41–54.

Saad, N. A. M., Telajan, D. S. A. D., & Zamri, N. (2014). The effectiveness of visual media in literature-based classroom. Journal of Creative Practices in Language Learning and Teaching, 2(1), 36-43.

Saori, S. (2020). The use of mind mapping to teach reading comprehension. JOLLT: Journal of Language and Language Teaching, 8(2), 162-169.

Sattar, S., & Salehi, H. (2014). The role of teaching reading strategies in enhancing reading comprehension. International Journal of Current Life Sciences, 4(11), 10922-10928.

Setianingsih, T., Rosihan, M., & Pardani, S. (2018). The use of mind mapping to improve motivation in learning vocabulary of second grade students at MTs NW Mispalah Praya. JOLLT: Journal of Languages and Language Teaching, 6(2), 125-133.

Singh, C. K. S., Lebar, O., Kepol, N., Rahman, R. A., & Mukhtar, K. A. M. (2017). An observation of classroom assessment practices among lecturers in selected Malaysian higher learning institutions. Malaysian Journal of Learning and Instruction, 14(1), 23-61.

Tomlinson, B. & Masuhara, H. (2017). The complete guide to the theory and practice of materials development for language learning. Wiley.

Venita, Y., Hayati, R., & Silvhiany, S. (2010). Reading attitude and reading habit of public vocational school students in Palembang in relation to their reading achievement. TEFLIN International Journal, 16(1), 109-122.

Vidhiasi, D. M. (2018). Classroom observation and research. Jurnal Siantara, 3(1), 6-13.

Wang, Y., Han, X., & Yang, J. (2015). Revisiting the blended learning literature: Using a complex adaptive systems framework. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 18(2), 380–393.

Yaakub, N., Rashid, R. A., & Nasir, N. A. M. (2018). Developing critical thinking skills through i-THINK Maps: Action research. International Journal of English linguistics, 8(7), 42-49.

Yue, C. L., Storm, B. C., Kornell, N., & Bjork, E. L. (2015). Highlighting and its relation to distributed study and students’ metacognitive beliefs. Educational Psychology Review, 27, 69-78.

Yunus, K., Mohamad, M., & Waelateh, B. (2016). The breadth of receptive vocabulary knowledge among English major university students. Journal of Nusantara Studies (JONUS), 1(1), 7-17.

Yusop, R., & Mahamod, Z. (2015). Keberkesanan peta pemikiran (i-THINK) dalam meningkatkan pencapaian penulisan Bahasa Melayu murid tahun 6 [The effectiveness of the thinking map (i-THINK) improving the achievement of Malay language writing for year 6]. Jurnal Pendidikan Bahasa Melayu, 5(2),31-37.


Article Metrics

Abstract view : 0 times
PDF - 0 times


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Print ISSN: 2355-2794, Online ISSN: 2461-0275

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

View Journal Stats