This study examined the establishment of coherence relations by Persian EFL learners in their reading of stories. 201 undergraduate EFL learners read narrative passages and selected appropriate coherence elements of different types necessary for the proper construction of meaning. The results demonstrated a consistent pattern of a text-specific hierarchy for the comprehension of conjunctive relations across learners with different proficiency levels. More specifically, adversatives were found to be the easiest connectors by all the three groups followed by causals as the second easiest, then sequentials as the third and more difficult, and additives as the most difficult markers. The results have both theoretical and practical applications and implications for the ‘model building’ hypotheses on the one hand, and reading comprehension and instruction on the other.