The Effect of Critical Reading Strategies on EFL Learners' Recall and Retention of Collocations

Amir Reza NematTabrizi, Mehrnoush Akhavan Saber


The study was an attempt to measure the effect of critical reading strategies, namely; re-reading, questioning and annotating on recall and retention of collocations by intermediate Iranian EFL learners. To this end, Nelson proficiency test was administered to ninety (n=90) Iranian EFL learners studying at Zaban Sara language institute in Esfahan, Iran. Sixty (n=60) language learners were selected based on their scores on Nelson test. A pretest of collocation was administered to these participants to homogenize them based on their knowledge of collocations. Next, the participants were divided into two groups as the control group and the experimental group. While the participants in the experimental group were taught how to use critical reading strategies prior to answering the reading comprehension questions, the participants in the control group were simply asked to read the text and answer the reading comprehension questions. Both groups took a researcher-made collocation test as the test of recall (after the treatment) and the test of retention (after a 2-week interval). The findings of the study through independent samples t-test revealed that teaching critical reading strategies has a positive effect on both recall and retention of collocations. The findings of the study could be used by language teachers who aim at more effective understanding of collocations in their classes.

Keywords: Critical Reading, Recall, Retention, Collocations, EFL Learners

Full Text:



Ann, S. (2014). 10 tips to teach collocations. Retrieved from

Burns, P. C., Roe, B. D., & Ross, E. P. (1999). Teaching reading in today’s elementary schools (7th Ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Collocation strategies (2014). How-to-teach-collocations. Retrieved from

Crow, J. T. (1986). Receptive vocabulary acquisition for reading comprehension. The Modern Language Journal, 70, 242-250.

Daskalovska, N. (2011). The impact of reading on three aspects of word knowledge: spelling, meaning and collocation. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 15, 2334-2341.

Fathi, M. (2004).The effect of reading strategies on vocabulary retention. (Unpublished master’s thesis). Tehran, Iran.

Goldman, S. R., & Wiley, J. (2002). Scientific literacy: The centrality of critical reading. Paper presented at the international Conference Ontological in Canada.

Grellet, F. (1981). Developing reading skills: A practical guide to reading comprehension exercises. UK: Cambridge University Press.

Hunston, S. (2002). Corpora in applied linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Jones, L. (2002). A critical review of media studies advocacy and its underlying assumptions and agendas. EFL Journals, 59(3), 219-231.

Kennedy, G. (2012). Amplifier collocations in the British national corpus: Implications for English language teaching. DOI: 10.2307/3588400

Khabiri, M., & Pakzad, M. (2012). The effect of teaching critical reading strategies on EFL learners’ vocabulary retention. Journal of Teaching Language Skills, 4(1), 73-106.

Krashen, S. D. (1989). We acquire vocabulary and spelling by reading: Additional evidence for the input hypothesis. The Modern Language Journal, 73, 440-464.

Kurland, D. J. (2000).What is critical reading? Retrieved December 26, 2009, from

Lewis, M. (2000). Teaching collocation: Further developments in the lexical approach. Hove, England: Language Teaching Publications ISBN 1-899396-11-X

McDonald, L. (2004). Moving from reader response to critical reading: Developing 10–11-year-olds' ability as analytical readers of literary texts. Literacy, 38(1), 17-25 DOI: 10.1111/j.0034-0472.2004.03801004.x

Min, H. (2008).Reading plus vocabulary enhancement activities and narrow reading. Language Learning, 58(1), 73-115.

Motallebzadeh, K., Beh-Afarin, R., & Rad, S. D. (2011). The Effect of short message service on the retention of collocations among Iranian lower intermediate EFL learners. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 1(11), 1514-1520.

Naghizadeh, M., & Darabi, T. (2015). The Impact of Bimodal, Persian and No-Subtitle Movies on Iranian EFL Learners’ L2 Vocabulary Learning. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research, 2(2), 66-79.

Nesselhauf, N. (2003). The use of collocations by advanced learners of English and some implications for teaching. Oxford Journals Arts & Humanities Applied Linguistics, 24(2), 223-242

Prince, P. (1996). Second language vocabulary learning: The role of context versus translations as a function of proficiency. The Modern Language Journal, 80, 478-493.

Pulido, D. (2004). The relationship between text comprehension and second language incidental vocabulary acquisition: A matter of topic familiarity? Language Learning, 54(3), 469-523.

Richards, J., & Schmidt, R. (2010). Dictionary of language teaching & applied linguistics (4th Ed.). Great Britain: Longman.

Salisbury University (2013). 7 critical reading strategies. Retrieved from

Stevens, J. P. (2009). Applied Multivariate Statistics for Social Sciences. (5thed.). NY: Routledge.

Shahivand, Z., &Pazhakh, A. (2012). The effects of test facets on the construct validity of the tests in Iranian EFL students. Higher Education of Social Science, 2(1), 16-20.

Shih, R. H. (2000). Collocation deficiency in a learner corpus of English: From an overuse perspective. Research conducted from National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Sinclair, J. Mc H. (1991). Corpus concordance collocation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Swanborn, M. S. L. (1999). Incidental word learning while reading: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 69(3), 261-286.

Talebi, M., & Marzban, A. (2015). The Effect of Teaching Critical Reading Strategies on Advanced Iranian EFL Learners' Vocabulary Retention. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 5(3), 572.

The free dictionary (2014). Retrieved from

The Importance of Learning Collocations instead of Individual Words (n.d). Retrieved from

Yu-Ling, L. (2005). Teaching vocabulary learning strategies: Awareness, beliefs and practices. A survey of Taiwanese EFL senior high school teachers (Unpublished Dissertation MA). University of Essex: Essex.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

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

2013-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

International Journal of Education and Literacy Studies  

You may require to add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.