The Effect of Rhetorical and Cognitive Structure of Texts on Reading Comprehension

| June 25, 2009
The Effect of Rhetorical and Cognitive Structure of Texts on Reading Comprehension

Keywords: Argumentation, exposition, narration, rhetorical structure, text type

Esmaeel Abdollahzadeh
Iran University of Science and Technology, Iran

Bio Data
Esmaeel Abdollahzadeh holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics. He is an assistant professor at the English Dept. of Iran University of Science and Technology. He has been teaching English for almost 10 years and published nationally and internationally. His research interests are mainly in discourse analysis, ESP, intercultural pragmatics, reading-writing interface, and language learning strategies.

This paper examines the comprehension of different text types by readers at different proficiency levels. 170 EFL undergraduates read narrative, expository, and argumentative text types. Significant comprehension differences were found among readers of these text types. Low-level readers performed similarly on the three text types, and thus failed to use the rhetorical structure of the text types and their related processing requirements to improve their performance on these texts. On the other hand, more proficient readers used these features to their advantage in the comprehension process. Their outperforming the low and intermediate groups in expository and argumentative text comprehension shows that certain text types are more difficult for lower-level underachievers, and by implication certain levels of proficiency need to be achieved to have a better performance on these texts. This was further corroborated when we found no significant differences in the performance of the high group on the three text types.

See page 104-128

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Category: Main Editions, Volume 11 Issue 2