The Taxonomy of Reading Tasks for the Treatment of Strategies to Tackle Texts through Cohesive Devices

Document Type : Original Article


Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University



 Though there is no doubt about the importance of the role of students’ control over the use of linguistic devices that contribute to textual cohesion in their reading and their ability to understand and interpret texts, there are very few reading tasks based on cohesive devices in the reading comprehension course books. This paper presents a study of the classification of the different reading comprehension tasks for the treatment of strategies to tackle texts through cohesive devices to be used in the ELT classes. The theoretical background of the suggested task taxonomy has the following assumptions: 1. a text is organized of relevant sequences of sentences/utterances. 2. Text processing requires considering a text as a process rather than a product. 3. Halliday and Hassan’s taxonomy of cohesion (1976) is considered valid and reliable. 4. Appropriate reading activities increase the discourse awareness on the part of the students. These tasks are divided into two general categories: 1. Micro-information Reading Tasks and 2. Macro-information Reading Tasks. The first category can be answered by understanding only specific parts of the text; in these tasks bottom-up processing is very important. Questions related to the second category can be answered by reading the entire text and integrate information found in different parts of the message. In these tasks, the importance of top-down processing becomes evident. The tasks of the first category include:
Reference, Substitution, Ellipsis, Conjunction, Lexical Cohesion (Reiteration: Repetition Nets, Finding and Classifying Synonyms, Antonyms, Super-ordinates and Hyponyms), Collocation, Exploring Cohesion, Cohesive Chains, Spatial Chains, Word Relation, Text Symbols and Abbreviations, Sentence Value. The tasks of the second category include: Analyze, Inferring, Prediction, Paragraph Formation, Interpretation, and Topic Finding. The paper offers 18 sample exercises to illustrate the way the strategies can be applied to the ELT classes.