Cohesive Devices Frequency in English Textbooks: Do They Help or Hinder EFL Reading Comprehension?

Natasha Pourdana, Mahnaz Naziri, John S. Rajeski


This study is an endeavor to demonstrate the presence of various kinds of cohesive devices through English Textbook and their possible impacts on Iranian High school students’ reading comprehension. . To homogenize the subjects and divide them into two intact groups of experimental and control, Nelson Battery Test of English was administered as the pre-test. In the 12-session treatment, the experimental group read through eight selected short passages from Learning to Read English (Birjandi, AnaniSarab & Samimi 2000) for 20 minutes per session, while the control group practiced the questions in English final exams back to previous academic years as a placebo. Both groups partook in a piloted and validated post-test. Four passages, extracted from the University Entrance Examinations in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011 in Iran, were read and followed by 20 multiple-choice items. The post-test was piloted and revised for an acceptable reliability estimate (Cronbach α=.761). The collected data were analyzed for normality with Kolmogorov-Smirnov Test. Statistics from pre- and post-tests supported the benefits Iranian high school EFL learners would gain from a high frequency of cohesive devices in their reading texts. Moreover, the EFL learners' moderately improved proficiency level accounted for the benefits they would gain from English texts flourished with frequent cohesive devices. Findings could have some important pedagogical implications in favor of explicit teaching of cohesive devices by EFL teachers and material developers.



Cohesive devices, Discourse, EFL, High School, Reading Comprehension

Full Text:



Alba-Juez, L. (2009). Perspectives on discourse analysis: theory and practice. Cambridge: Cambridge scholar publishing. Retrieved November 27, 2011, from

Bell, R. (1991). Translation and translating: theory and practice. London and New York: Longman.

Ben-Anath, D. (2005). The role of connectives in text comprehension. TESOL and Applied Linguistics, 5(2), 1-27. Retrieved April 12, 2012 from

Birjandi, P., AnaniSarab, M. R. & Samimi, D. (2007). Learning to Read English. Tehran: Iran Textbooks Publisher.

Cook, G. (1990). Discourse. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Crane, P. A. (2000). Texture in text: A discourse analysis of a news article using Halliday and Hasan’s model of Cohesion. Retrieved November 23, 2011, from

Eggins, S. (1994). An Introduction to Systemic Functional Linguistics. London: Pinter.

Halliday, M. A. K., & Hasan, R. (1976). Cohesion in English. London: Longman.

Innajih, A. A. (2007). The impact of textual cohesive conjunctions on the reading comprehension of foreign language students. ARECLS E-Journal, 3, 1-20. Retrieved November 23, 2011, from

Kai, J. (2008). Lexical cohesion patterns in NS and NNS dissertation abstracts in applied linguistics: A comparative study. Linguistics Journal, 3, 132-144. Retrieved November 30, 2011, from

Larson-Hall, J. (2011). A guide to doing statistics in second language research using SPSS. London: Routledge.

Laybutt, B. E. (2009). A comparative corpus study between a genre of written sport reports and a large reference corpus. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Birmingham- England. Retrieved December 10, 2011, from artslaw/cels/essays/matefltesldissertations/Thesis-Laybutt.pdf

Malki, F. (2010). The Role of cohesive markers in reading scientific texts. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Mentouri-Constantine.Retrieved December 15, 2011, from

McCarthy, M. (1991). Discourse analysis for language teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

McNamara, D. S., Ozuru, Y., & Floyd, R. G. (2011) .Comprehension challenges in the fourth grade: The roles of text cohesion, text genre, and reader's prior knowledge. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education (IEJEE), 4(1), 229-257. Retrieved October 23, 2011, from

Morris, J. (2006). Readers’ subjective perceptions of lexical cohesion and implications for computers’ interpretations of text meaning. CaSTA Symposium on text analysis. Canada, 12 October 2006. Retrieved December 15, 2011, from

Muto, K. (2007). The Use of Lexical Cohesion in Reading and Writing. Retrieved January 10, 2011 from

Olateju, M. (2006). Cohesion in ESL classroom written texts. Nordic Journal of African Studies, 15(3), PP.314-331. Retrieved November 30, 2011, from

Perason, P. D., & Johnson, D. D. (1978). Teaching reading comprehension. New York: Holt, Rinehart &Winston.

Rahemi, J. (2009). Reciprocal teaching as a tool to foster autonomy: Practical considerations in Iranian high school. Roshd FLT 89(23), pp. 29-36.

Rivers,W.M. (1981). Teaching foreign language skills. Chicago: university of Chicago press.

Rosenthal, R. (1994). Parametric measures of effect size. In H. Cooper & L. V. Hedges (Eds.), The Handbook of Research Synthesis (pp. 231-244). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Silveira, R. (2008).Cohesive devices and translation: An analysis. Retrieved January 12, 2011 from

Widdowson, H. G. (2006). Discourse Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Xi, Y. (2010).Cohesion studies in the past 30 years: Development, application and chaos. University of MaCau, The International Journal Language Society and Culture, ISSN 1327- 774X, 31. Retrieved October 21, 2011 from

Yeh, H. C., Yong, Y. F., & Wong, W. K. (2010). Interaction chain patterns of on line text construction with lexical cohesion. Educational Technology and Science Journal, 13(1), pp.55- 68. Retrieved April 12, 2012, from



  • There are currently no refbacks.

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

2012-2021 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.