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The use of Visual Storyboard in enhancing reading comprehension using the short story
entitled The Pencil by Ali Majod among Form 1 students SMK Kabota, Tawau.

Reading through visual can be interesting to students especially when students read a
longer text such as short story. Stories are a marvellous resource, which should be tapped
because of the tremendous potential. Stories also appeal too many as they contain elements of
fantasy, drama, romance adventure, suspense or comedy. Stories are effective in the language
class as they serve to harness the natural interest that everyone has in stories, and help engage
students in languaging activities without making them conscious that they are participating
in a language learning session (Kim L.S 2004).

Visual literacy is the ability to see, to understand, and ultimately to think, create, and
communicate graphically. Generally speaking, the visually literate viewer looks at an image
carefully, critically, and with an eye for the intentions of the images creator. Those skills can
be applied equally to any type of image: photographs, paintings and drawings, graphic art
(including everything from political cartoons to comic books to illustrations in childrens
books), films, maps, and various kinds of charts and graphs. All convey information and
ideas, and visual literacy allows the viewer to gather the information and ideas contained in
an image, place them in context, and determine whether they are valid.

Reading comprehension is equally important: teachers work to help students not only
to decode words but also to make sense of what they read. That understanding requires broad
vocabulary, experience in a particular content area, and critical thought, and teachers have
various approaches and strategies to help students build contextual understanding of what
they read.

The first level of visual literacy, too, is simple knowledge: basic identification of the
subject or elements in a photograph, work of art, or graphic. The skills necessary to identify
details of images are included in many disciplines; for example, careful observation is
essential to scientific inquiry. But while accurate observation is important, understanding

what we see and comprehending visual relationships are at least as important. These higher-
level visual literacy skills require critical thinking, and they are essential to a students
success in any content area in which information is conveyed through visual formats such as
charts and maps (Thibault & Walbert 2003).

In recent years literature in English has become one of the compulsory components in
Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Menengah (KBSM). It has been included in the English
language syllabus as part of the content that should be learned by students in form one to
form five since the year 2001. In the English language curriculum specifications, the
literature component is specifically put under the language for aesthetic use learning
outcome. The Ministry of Education has explains the reason of putting the literature
component in the syllabus specification as follows:

Language for aesthetic purposes enables learners to enjoy literary texts at a level
suited to their language proficiency and develops in them the ability to express themselves
(KBSM English language Curriculum Specifications, 2003)

However, teaching literature has always been a problem for most of English teachers
because literature can be interesting when teacher uses the right method and techniques to
teach, it can be boring when teacher couldnt find the right techniques to motivate students,
especially when it comes to short story, certain second language learners they have problem
in understanding the plot of story due the reason of limited vocabulary causing them unable
to understand the story completely, instead of using top down approach they use bottom up
approach to read and understand. Hence, they cant understand the story completely and they
find the story is dry and confusing. So, it leaves us to a question here what is the best way to
improve students understanding towards short stories?

Using visual literacy can be a crucial step into helping students to understand short
story better. According to development theory and research, children must master visual
skills before they can even begin to develop verbal skills--some theorists even argue that
visual skills are a necessary foundation for later speech and reading skills. A child looks at
the world and is forced to identify objects and make sense of what he or she sees. In that case,
most of the time we learn through visual stimulation, like what the proverb says picture

speaks a thousand words. Does the picture really speak a thousand words? No but we can
understand better through pictures which we call it visual stimulation; students can actually
understand and remember the plot of the story better with the help of pictures.


Literature is one of the most important elements in language learning especially for
Malay and English language since the year 2000. It is not easy for the education ministry to
introduce literature to students because of many arguments from other side. In the year 2000,
literature became part of curriculum in Malaysia. Literature component that is being
emphasize in the language learning are novels, short stories and poems. These literature
components can be divided into two sections which are Malaysian and foreign writer. For
example, for form 1 student are asked to analysis three short stories such as Of Bunga Telur
and Bally Shoes, The Pencil, and How Dalat Got Its Name.

Adaptation literature from other country is good for the students because they will
learn about other culture and customs. Literature would be a device to show culture and help
to promote good values. The literature choices you make establish on important social
context for your classroom. The stories and the way you use them say much about the
potentials you imagine for reading, increasing multicultural understanding, developing
critical thinking and analysis, learning about life or simply the pleasure of enjoying a good
tale. (Donald J.Leu, 184, 2003).

Textbook should be our main source but without any supplementary equipment or
teaching aids, students would get bored and lost their way in language learning and facing the
problem of having to learn literature in English. The use of visual storyboard would help
students in enhancing the reading comprehension of the short story and mastered the

Reading a literature text maybe daunting because learners have to grapple with
vocabulary context, element setting (time, place and culture perspective), plot, character,
literary device and the author point of view. Hence, the visual representation of this short
story should remove the stress of reading text.

Another reading problem is the lack of prior knowledge to help students make
connections to text. As a result, under confident students revert to lower level reading
processes such as word level literal comprehension. Support materials such as television and
films can help enlarge experience and supply the necessary vocabulary to aid comprehension.

Understanding a short story can be a difficult task especially for students with limited
vocabulary, it kills their interest when they are taking hours of time referring to the dictionary
just to understand the story. For these reasons it is essential that ESL students are helped as
much as possible and necessary to understand what they read. However first of all we need to
understand what type of problems student face while reading a short story.

Many struggling readers lack confidence in their own ability to learn unfamiliar words
or phrases found in a text. This can sometimes impede the reading process when students
assume that the text is far more difficult than it actually is. Moreover, if the reader chooses to
disregard portions of a text deemed unimportant or make irrelevant associations, then the
actual meaning of the text can be misconstrued. To eradicate this reading problem, the reader
needs to be exposed to other viewpoints of the text. Reading and discussing about the text
will help individual readers gain different perspectives on issues in the text (Sharmini
Ghanaguru, Ng Hee Liang & Ng Lee Kit, 2003).

Understanding a short story can be a difficult task especially for students with limited
vocabulary, it kills their interest when they are taking hours of time referring to the dictionary
just to understand the story. For these reasons it is essential that ESL students are helped as
much as possible and necessary to understand what they read. However first of all we need to
understand what type of problems student face while reading a short story.

(i) Unfamiliar Words

A written text may be difficult to understand because it contains many words that are
unknown to the student.

(ii) Lack of background knowledge

Students with unfamiliar background toward the story always find it hard to understand the
story for example the story Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde the setting of the story is in England, as

for students who have limited background knowledge toward England might find it hard to
understand the entire story.

When students are facing these types of problems, support materials such as pictures,
photograph, and movies can help to supply more necessary vocabulary aid and understanding
towards the story line. Through this way it can helps students who are lack of confidence in
the language to regain their interest toward reading because they will realize it is actually not
that difficult as we they think. In that case visual storyboard can provide more comprehensive
way of understanding the text through visual way and it helps to intrigue students with low
proficiency level toward reading and helps students with higher proficiency to understand

Many learners do not read the text. This version entices them to read the text through
visual. The use of Visual Storyboard has provided a comprehensive flow of the events and a
full description setting. The visual serve exemplify, support, summarise and restate
information expressed in the text. In a nutshell, this visual storyboard is the transfer of
learning and the discovery of meaning.


There are three hypothesis designs for this research to get answers for research question. The
hypothesis is as follows:
HO1: There is no relation between the experimental groups achievement and control
groups achievement in the pre-test and post-test.
HO2: There is no relation between the used of the Visual Storyboard and the
students performance in the post-test.
HO3: There is no relation between the teacher experiences in teaching and the
students interest in reading comprehension of short stories.



5.1 Cognitive theory
Cognitive theory is one of the famous theories on how human information processes
in their mind. It is both the oldest and the youngest member of the psychological community
in the world. Some of the psychologist stands behind this cognitive theory is Ausubel,
Brunner, Goodnow and Austin. For example, Ausubel cognitive theory (1962) on how
people think and Brunners learning (1974) concepts still being used nowadays to describe
human mind in processing information. During the World War II, all researchers under the
cognitive theory mainly focus on the development of complex human skills, the computer
revolution, and the breakthroughs in understanding language development that was
stimulated resurgence in cognitive research.

Cognitive theory mostly refers to how knowledge is represented in the human mind
and in particular how it is remembered. We can look into this process using the model of
cognitive theory. This theory also discussed how human mind works in remembering and
forgetting, this had became the major issues for investigation for the cognitive psychologist in
the 1970 and 1980.

Some of the beliefs that are being stated by the cognitive psychologist were that
learning is the result of our attempts to make sense of the world. How we as a human use all
the mental tools at our disposal. The cognitive theory focus on the ways we think about
situations, along with our knowledge, influence how and what we already learned. Besides
that, the cognitive theory also sees people as active learners who initiate experiences, seek out
information to solve problems, and reorganize what we already know to achieve new insights.

Generally, learning within this perspective is seen as transforming significant

understanding we already have, rather than simple acquisitions, written on blank slates
(Greeno, Collins & Resnick, 1996). The theory views are also apparent in the methods each
group has used to study learning.

5.2 Information Processing Model.
One of the models used in this research is the information processing model of
memory. This particular model presented under the cognitive approach. The information
processing model is suitable to explain how students in form 1 improve their reading
comprehension in the classroom.

Executive Control Process

(Perception) (Learn / save)

Sensory Working Long-term

memory memory memory.

(Activate memories)
Temporary storage Permanent storage

Diagram 5.2: Information Processing Model.

(Taken from cognitive theory by Woolfolk, 1998).

Generally, information processing views of memory rely on the cognitive approach,

which in this context we refers to students mind takes information, performs operations on it
to change its form and content, stores the information, retrieves it when needed. The
information processing model of memory consists of 4 main components which are the
sensory memory, perception, working memory and long term memory. All of these 4
components are adapted into the process of teaching short story for form 1 students.

5.3 The Sensory Memory
The sensory memory is the basic process in this model, stimulation from the
environment is given by the teacher. According to Newman (2011), the teacher would ask the
students to read the short story and explain the short story given. Students used their bodys
mechanism for seeing and hearing. Information is store-holds all briefly. For example, when
students read their book, they are using their eyes and ears to listen to some main point as the
teacher read and explain thoroughly about the short story. Students will store this memory
for a while.

5.4 Perception.
The information is constructed on both objective reality and the students existing
knowledge. In this section, the students would have their perception on the short story
thought by the teacher. For example, if students already felt bored or view the short story are
difficult, the student may even lost their interest in it (Smitten, 2013). So, as an alternative
way to cope with this matter, teacher used the Visual Storyboard to attract their attention to
read the short story.

5.5 Working memory.

The working memory section is the workbench of the memory system, the
component of memory where the new information is held temporarily and combined with
knowledge from long-term memory. Teacher can use this kind of memory to give more
knowledge about the short story and some literature elements. It would help the students to
enhance their reading comprehension in literature learning (Langford, 2006).

5.6 Long-term memory.

The long-term memory holds information that is currently activated and well-learned.
According to Sandra (2009), during the usage of long-term memory, students activate
information from the long-term memory to help students understand new information in
working memory. Students work and processing (elaboration, organization, and context)
and the new information can be stored permanently in long-term memory. After using
Visual Storyboard teacher can used some exercises to recall back the students previous
knowledge on the short story and other basic elements in literature (plot, setting, characters
and others).

5.7 Past Research
Ng Hee Liang et al., (2003) had done an initial study of reading problems faced by
young ESL learners as well as the teaching and strategies used to address these problems. Ng
Hee Liang et al. found out that the respondent particularly liked using texts with lots of
visuals such as pictures in Big Books and video tapes. Her students found that pictures and
actions of characters aid their understanding. These young ESL learners tend to enjoy looking
at pictures and pictures can also focus students attention to important information as they
read. Based on the pictures, various questions could be asked to help students think aloud
what they see and describe their reactions to the pictures. Ng Hee Liang et al. added that
weaker students enjoy looking at pictures and are more eager to see the actions. Its of a
more friendlythey feel that youre near to them so, in that way, I think theyll understand
better than leaving them to do their work on their own. In sum, this research supported that
picture surely can foster and capture weaker learners attention in learning English
vocabulary. Hence, this research may shade a light for the researcher study that is using
picture to teach form 1 students and will surely expand the respondents English word

According to Wood & Tinajero (2002) in their journal about using pictures to teach
content to second language learners. The challenges are exacerbated at the intermediate and
middle school levels where the curriculum is much more cognitively demanding than in the
primary grades, requiring high levels of academic language competence and understanding of
highly de-contextualized concepts and ideas; and teachers must also grapple with the unique
needs of young adolescents. In a recent study of exemplary schooling for LEP students
conducted by the National Clearinghouse on Bilingual Education (McLeod, 1996), a student's
native language was viewed and used as a resource for learning rather than as an obstacle.
Students were allowed to complete assignments and participate in discussions in either
English or their native language. The school's language goal for students was focused on full
mastery of English rather than transition from native language to English (McLeod, 1996, p.
9). Some of the characteristics of the instruction are using grade-level content as the vehicle
for language development and literacy and using authentic literature that is connected to
grade-level content as the basis for reading and writing activities; In addition to the above-
mentioned characteristics of exemplary instruction is the value of using pictures in the
classroom as a way to bridge the language gap in today's classrooms. A picture can evoke
mental images to help second language learners recall a term or concept. Pictures can be used

with any and all languages, are easily accessible, and can be used to reinforce literal, critical,
and creative thinking.

According to Werff (2003) saying: Several years ago I was teaching a beginning
level class. One student in the group, Juan, seemed particularly shy; he was afraid of making
mistakes, and reluctant to participate. One day, I gave each student an unusual picture of a
person, and I asked them to describe the people in the pictures. Juans photograph showed a
young woman swimming with a killer whale in a deep blue sea. Juan came up with a
remarkably long story about a woman who had a pet killer whale. When he gave his
description, Juans classmates were fascinated by his vivid imagination. Juan was surprised
and thrilled by his classmates appreciation. He instantly lost his inhibitions toward speaking
English in class, and he participated actively from then on. This experience convinced me
that visuals, especially unusual pictures, foster students imagination, which in turn
motivates them to use English. With picture also, we can teach, practice, or review new
vocabulary. This research also convinced the researcher by using picture can foster shy
students to participate in the classroom activity. This is due to the respondents in this research
is Form 1 weaker learners who felt shy and reluctant to make mistakes. Hence, using pictures
will give the respondents an equal learning level so that they do not hesitate to participate in
the classroom activity although they are weak in mastering English language.

5.8 Conceptual Framework

Usage of Long term

visual memory-
Literature storyboard used Enhancing
learning in during the Students
the Influences pre-test reading
classroom the sensory and post- comprehension
and short test.

Students information processing continuum

(Adapted from Cognitive learning instruction Driscoll. Psychology of Learning
for Instruction, 1994).

Diagram 5.8: Conceptual Framework of Research

The above diagram is the conceptual framework to show the relation between the
usage of Visual Storyboard among form 1 students in ESL classroom. The research main
instrument is the Visual Storyboard. The Visual storyboard is about pictures or visual of
each plot of the short story and some dialogue. This learning material can motivate and
attract the students in enhancing their reading comprehension about the short story.

Besides, the visual given to the students can help them in understanding more about
the text of the short story. According to Mary, (1998), for those with limited English
proficiency, the book, and many others like it, provides a catalyst for discussion of authentic
and pertinent issues using striking visuals to support the written text. Students not only gain
new vocabulary, they also use the vocabulary to engage in literary discussions (in terms of
literature usage). Visual or pictures are very important especially in teaching literature, not
only to give student a new approach in learning but at the same time student can easily
memorized the story (the plot of the story).

Visual organizers are one of the effective teaching materials to help students
enhancing their comprehension and learning. Visual organizers are visual frameworks such
as figures, diagrams, charts. The usage of these learning materials can help students become
more involved in the teaching and learning process, and assist them in restructuring ideas and
processing information. Student empowered with this skill can learn more effectively and
independently if they know how to employ visual organizers to benefit their own learning
(Shumin Kang, 2004).


Since the main focus of this research is to utilize the Visual Storyboard in enhancing
the reading comprehension of the short story on The Pencil, a quasi-experimental research
design is utilized in this study. Qualitative data is also collected to supplement the
quantitative data.

The Form 1 students will be divided into two groups, i.e., the control and experiment
groups. Both groups are formed from intermediate level students from two different classes.

Firstly, the control group will only have the pre-test and the post-test for their
measurement. For the control group, the teacher will only use the normal teaching process
which is without any specific material used only the text of the short story based on the text
book. For example, the teacher would only ask the students to read and understand the short
story as the main activity.

The second group, i.e., the experimental group, is will be provided with an
intervention or treatment in the form of the Visual storyboard in enhancing reading
comprehension of the short story on The Pencil. Just like the control group, students in the
experimental group have to take both the pre-test and the post-test. But, for the experimental
group the teacher provides visual storyboard as their main learning materials. The Visual
storyboard should be carried out during the research. The entire students should be involved
totally during the teaching process.

For the qualitative data, the researcher will be using interview to further understand
the students perceptions towards the visual storyboard for reading. Ten students will be
selected randomly from 30 students in experimental group. Selected respondents will be

asked a series of questions in the interview session. These questions are provided in the
appendixes to elicit their perceptions toward the use of the visual storyboard.

Form 1 student

Control group Experimental


Pre-test Pre-test

Normal classroom Visual Storyboard


Post-test Post-test

Collection of data
and analysis.

Diagram 6.0: Research Design Of Research

The visual storyboard will be focusing on the students in intermediate level. For
this purpose the researcher has chosen SMK Kabota as the respondent.

For the sampling of the research, the research will be done using the systematic
random sampling (certain criteria for selecting the sample such as student from intermediate
level). The sample chosen are form 1 students in SMK Kabota from intermediate level for
example form 1 Bestari and 1 Cemerlang.

Generally, SMK Kabota would be the population for the research and the selected
sample would be the form 1 student from intermediate level. The research requires two
classes during the experiment. The two classes will be the control and experimental group.
Each of the class will consist of 25 to 30 students per class.



Form 1

(60 students)



(30 students)

Diagram 7.0: Research Sample and Population


8.1 Visual Storyboard

The teaching aid will be used in this research. Visual Storyboard is represent visual
of the short story that is The Pencil that will make students read as well as like watching a
movie. It also allows the learners to focus on the flow of events.

8.2 Test.
During this research, focus on teaching of short stories. The two tests consists of pre-
test and post-test. The pre-test and post-test would be an instrument to measure the student
achievement in learning (Wiersma, 115, 1995). The pre-test and post-test can also be an
instrument of comparison between the control group and the experimental group. Pre-test and
post-test have 10 questions and all are objectives questions.

8.3 Interview
After using Visual Storyboard in learning the short story, teacher will interview
chosen students to see their perception about Visual Storyboard. Teacher will follow up and
ask questions, not being judgemental but learn about their perspectives.


Data is elicited via the pre-test, post-test and a group interview. The researcher
provides two types of test for this purpose which are the pre-test and post-test. The
differences of achievement statically tested via T-test will determine if the intervention has
brought about a change in students achievement.

In this test the researchers try to compare the pre-test and post-test between two
groups of students (control and experimental group). Both of the groups are given different
method in teaching, the first group is given a normal classroom teaching materials, whereas
the second group will be given visual storyboard as the learning materials.

The different achievement during the pre-test and post-test in the experimental group
can be used as the data for the final result. It will show the practicality of the research and
also how the visual storyboard enhancing reading comprehension of the short story to
improve the students achievement in learning literature. Besides, a group interview of ten

randomly selected students. The interview session is about 20 minutes with several questions.
A further example of these questionnaires is shown in appendixes.













Diagram 10.0: Framework Of Data Analysis

The data was collected from the first semester exam, pre-test, post-test and a
questionnaire will be processed using the ratio of the mean, standard deviation and statistical
analysis methods available in the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) 20.0
software. The goal is to answer all the questions that were speculative research described in
Chapter 1.

Descriptive statistics were used in the study because the data generated can be
considered as a summary of the entire data set. This test describes the respondents' views on
the achievements and interests of students based on a percentage, frequency, mean and
standard deviation. Inferential statistics used in this study is a t-test. Statistical methods will
be used to test the hypotheses that have been formed.

The analysis of the pre-test and post-test, t-test was used to determine differences
between the experimental group and the control group. T-test was used to determine whether
there is a significant relationship results from the test results of pre and post-test between the
two groups. The questionnaire used to compare the perception and acceptance of students to
teaching and learning methods are given. This analysis was compiled based on a percentage,
mean, standard deviation and t-test to see the acceptance of perception student interest.

The design and use of storyboards proved to be effective in helping Form 1 students
and improve their comprehension of short stories. The analysis of the data gathered revealed
that all of the participants of the study showed some growth in their reading comprehension
of literary fiction. Moreover, their motivation significantly increased since 100% of the
students expressed that designing storyboards helped them succeed in their assessments.

Additionally, all of the students benefitted from this research as they all expanded
their knowledge of different cultures and historical events, gained organizations skills,
explored their creativity, and strengthened their social skills as they interacted with their
classmates daily. Furthermore, the students were exposed to a variety of instructional
strategies that had an effective impact on their vocabulary development as they were required
to learn a significant number of words that appeared in the short stories. Last, the students
writing skills were also positively impacted since they had to write descriptions of their
illustrations every day.

Despite all the advantages that this study seemed to bring, it also had some limitations.
To start with, the sample was probably not the most suitable. Due to the lack of vocabulary
and experience with the structure of the English language, students at the earliest stages of
language proficiency lack the abilities to understand longer short stories. Even though the
participants of the study had constant guidance and support, they sometimes struggled to
participate in the activities planned for the treatment. Also, the sample was too small, so no
generalizations about the effectiveness of storyboards and their incidence in ESL long-term
reading comprehension can be made. In addition, some of the instruments were not easy to
work with or analyze. The teacher journal, for example, required too much time as detailed
descriptions of the attitudes of different individuals had to be provided. Plus, analyzing the
information recorded on the tally sheet was not easy as the descriptions were sometimes too
vague. It is important to be precise and create standard conventions that facilitate the
interpretation of the ideas recorded.

To conclude, it would be advisable that the study be applied using technology. In

recent years, many scholars in the English as a second language field of study have stated that
the incorporation of technology in the 21st century classroom has undoubtedly always
facilitated the task of language learning for both instructed and non-instructed learners

(Brinton, 2001, p. 459). The design of storyboards using computers might have a much more
positive impact on the students as they could have the opportunity to increase their
knowledge of technology and augment their motivation. Likewise, it would be
recommendable to apply this research study for a longer period of time. The results of the
country reading benchmarks were taken into consideration in order to see if the use of
storyboards would result in gains that allowed the students to transfer the skills they learned
and apply them in texts other than short stories. Based on the results of this investigation, it
cannot be concluded if the participants really gained sufficient knowledge and skills to
succeed in such assessment. Perhaps if the treatment is applied for more time, this hypothesis
might be demonstrated. However, it is important to mention that the research question and
hypothesis were proven since the use of storyboards did have a positive impact on the reading
comprehension of nonfiction texts in this particular sample.


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