ithink it's a great English Resource

Sunday, November 7, 2021

By now, most of you would have completed your exams and received your results. If you did well, congratulations! If you did not, this holidays is your best chance for you to beef things up! With the pandemic still ongoing, there is a shift in learning. New platforms have sprout out overnight and several portals like Zoom, quizizz, Kahoot, Neopad have been popularised. Like it or not, self-directed learning is the trend. 

Personally, I like to balance both online and offline materials. With the advent of technology, it is inevitable that it captures more of the student’s attention. Finding a suitable assessment book is needless to say , boring and difficult. Honestly there isn’t a large array at Popular bookstore when it comes to Secondary English. And for the material to be trendy and relevant, it is far and beyond. 

Thankfully, i discovered a series of magazines published by iThink is a monthly magazine written by ex or current MOE teachers. This itself is credible enough. You are assured that the content covered are relevant and up-to-date. 

A quick glance of the ithink series will probably get you attracted. It is coloured! This seems superficial but is somewhat an important draw when compared to the mundane black-and-white publications on the shelves of bookstores.  Colours can produce a higher level of attention and is effective to increase memory performance. Psychologists have found that we are significantly better at recalling scenes, pictures and images if they are not just black and white. They believe this is because colour has a stronger appeal to the senses, prompting a better connection to parts of the brain involved with memory. Therefore, it can be concluded that colours have the tendency to capture better attention level, and thus, better memory.

On a more serious note, let me give you an insight to some of the pros in this series. The magazine covers a variety of categories. Each month, they have a new theme and I love their genre as it is very relevant. Students these days lack general knowledge so reading what’s offered will definitely give this area a boost. With the Covid situation still not easing up, it would be a while before we truly let loose and travel like before. As if clairvoyant, the team has a section called WANDERLUST which brings you to places from Pompeii to Brighton! I gained so much insight just by reading about those places. many of which I have not heard before. Ok, perhaps I am just not well-travelled enough. Covid needs to make its exit so that we can regain our wanderlust lives!


Pretty sure you have heard of the above phrase. Humans and other animals are capable of observational learning. The magazine generally starts off with a series of essays written by the knowledgeable editorial team. It covers various genres like narrative, expository, descriptive, argumentative and hybrid. If these sound alien to you, they are basically what will be tackled typically in Secondary and even Junior college. We often hear parents nagging their children to read more but what exactly to read? Well, apart for expanding their general knowledge, we should be really selective in readings at this age due to the lack of time and the fact that they are impressionable. By reading more model essays, one will tend to go in a better direction with regards to their literacy level. As cliche as it may sound but I truly believe that it improves their repertoire of vocabulary and perhaps guide them in finding their style of writing. Of course, you don’t learn it all simply by observing. In order to retain, one will need repetition. Hence, repetitive spaced-out reading will enhance one’s retention. 

HEY Listen

Another section which I really love is the listening comprehension section called HEY LISTEN. I’ve been asked several times what books to buy when it comes to listening comprehension. Honestly, there isn’t much out there at a Secondary level. In every issue, there would be an article befitting the theme, which would be used as a listening comprehension practice. The questions are over on the last few pages of the book. A quick scan of the QR code (oooo savvy!) and you’d be able to commence your exercise. Fret not if you are wondering if there are answers. There are! They are all hosted on their website (


Apart from listening comprehension, another important and fearful component for most is oral. Once again, I seem to feel there is a lack of books in this area. So glad the editorial team has covered it. They even went out of the way to have someone recite out the passage. A click on the QR code once again and you’d be hearing someone read it out loud for you in accurate English, ala BBC style. Once again, monkey see monkey do. If you listen more, you’d probably mimic the confidence exuded by the reader! The second part of the Speak up section is the true lure — conversation. This is a component where candidates engage in a discussion with the examiners on a topic based on a visual stimulus in the form of a video clip. If you think it’s easy, think again. Candidates will not be asked any questions about what people say in the video clip. Typically there is a video linked to a QR code and subsequently questions based on them. This is an excellent break from a mishmash of words. To top it off, you can also listen to their suggested response! Often students are tongue-tied because they do not have the content and can’t think of personal experiences on their toes. Listening to others would definitely help in this area. And mind you, oral takes up 20% of the pie so you should really beef up this area. 


This 66-page magazine really packs a punch. After all the articles, there are several notes under the WORKOUT section. An analysis of the various genres of essays is given. Students can also do some HIIT workouts through the comprehension and visual text exercises penned down by the team. They follow closely how a typical English paper is, covering both Non-fiction text and Fiction text. In case you aren’t familiar, this takes up 35% of the GCE O Level paper. Once again, suggested answers can be found on their website Under this section, there are also several tips on how to write a good essay or quick tips on answering techniques in some issues. 

Last but not least, one can really be self-directed using this tiny but mighty magazine. It has a section called TWEAK ME, where students are able to submit their essays for the editors to comment on and edit! If your essay is selected and published, you’d be given a token of $20! Not bad right? This could potentially kickstart your writing career! is a company which publishes English resources that will get your child to read more and do better in school. It does not only have ithink which is for the older children age around 15yo. Under its umbrella, they also have a whole range of other interesting magazines, catering to children aged 4 to 16 years old. 

Story Time for 6yo

i Magazine for 10+y

Inspire for 13+yo

ithink for 15+yo

StoryTime has great short fables written in simple but good vocabulary. It also comes with activities to engage the littles. The colourful illustrations are a plus. 

Activities in StoryTime

iMagazine is one for children age around 10years old. In addition to the articles, I like how cleverly they sneaked in relevant activities like "editing" over on the last few pages of the magazine. The topics covered are also trendy. Ranging from K-pop to content creation. To keep myself abreast with trends, I find myself immersed in the articles as well. One point to note, as with all their publications, behind every writeup, there is also a word bank section that gives the meanings to certain words which may appear alien to some students. This is notable as we all know how oblivious we can get when it comes to unfamiliar words. Very often, we are too lazy to whip up the dictionary and will simply guess its meanings. The guesswork is eliminated with this helpful section. How thoughtful of the editors!

iMagazine recognises that their readers are still young, hence a certain amount of activities is still weaved into the magazine. 

The iInspire magazine is recommended for 13+yo but I personally feel that if your child is ready, they can start reading this as early as 11yo. The reason for this is that I'm seeing a trend in schools introducing expository writings to students as young as 11yo. The genre a 11yo is exposed to is generally limited, hence, reading beyond may not be a bad idea. 

A good command of English is of paramount importance. Everything revolves around English. With the exception of second languages, English is used in every subject. Getting the right resource will ease the learning curve a little. These publications adhere to MOE’s latest guidelines and are targeted at the child’s specific level. It’s been tried and tested by many students and myself. I personally have used iThink quite extensively prior to this blog post. Cultivate the love of reading through magazines! I think it’s less intimidating than assessment books or chapter books if your child is not quite a reader yet!

Discount for my readers!

ilovereading has kindly offer a 10% on for the following publications:

1) Storytime Magazine

2) i Magazine

3) Inspire Magazine

4) iThink magazine

Simply quote MMM10%. Promo code is valid till 30 December 2021. 

Disclaimer: All photos are property of www.themishmashmess.blogspot. We were given copies of the magazine for review but I have been a paid user prior to this post. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and written according to my experience in using the product. Please seek permission before reposting and give due credit when doing so.