Course Content
BA Arabic
About Lesson

Unit 1
Introduction to Reading

Learning Outcomes

 Upon the completion of this unit, the learner will be able to:

  • acquire knowledge of various aspects of reading
  • develop skills to appreciate and evaluate a poem, essay or short story
  • acquire skills in comprehending passages


Reading is a process of decoding. The purpose of every writing is to convey some ideas, perspectives, thoughts, emotions, etc. to the readers. The author encodes these ideas which are abstract, in order to present them perceptibly, as they cannot be understood without a form that can be recognised by our senses. Language provides such forms, in the shape of words, sentences, etc., which can contain ideas, thoughts, perspectives, emotions, etc. The process of fusing abstract ideas into language is ‘encoding’. For every successful communication the sender of the message and the receiver, the writer and the reader respectively, should share the same language.

Key words

Close reading, Fiction, Decoding texts


When we read, we use our eyes. What we see are not abstract things, but words, phrases, sentences, etc. Our optical nerves carry the impression drawn by our eyes to our brain, where the impressions are analysed, the language elements are shorn off and the crux,the ideas, perspectives, etc. are absorbed. This absorption is the understanding of the abstracts. What our brain does is decoding the text or message to absorb the abstract by employing the language elements. Hence, reading is the intellectual process of decoding a text or message and understanding its crux, which is abstract. Such a reading process can be classified into different types after considering the purpose and objective of the former.

2.1.1 Different Purposes of Reading

We read not for the same purpose always, and not in the same way. We read newspapers for information, mostly about the happenings of a day; articles for ideas and perspectives; academic books for knowledge; fiction, primarily for pleasure; and reference books or encyclopaedia for specific information. The focus and nature of reading a reference book differs from the mentality and approach of reading a novel. We read a prescribed text completely, repeatedly and with great attention for study purposes, whereas we rush through newspaper stories selectively. While reading fiction we may skip sentences, paragraphs, and, sometimes, even pages with the purpose of finishing the book faster. These differences in the methods of reading, thus, are based on the purpose of each reading.

Close reading, sometimes called explication of text, means developing an understanding of a text that is based on its small details and the larger ideas comprehended from the textual contents or suggestions. By looking at the various parts of a poem or passage of fiction, we come to appreciate the writer’s artistry and understand how a writer uses various techniques to make a statement, suggest an emotion, or convey an idea. John Ciardi’s classic book on analysing poetry is entitled How Does a Poem Mean? and that is the purpose of close reading: to analyse not just what a piece of literature means but how that meaning comes about.

When you write a close analytical essay, you start with the larger ideas you have discovered and use the small details the words themselves and how they are arranged to support your interpretation of the particular area of discussion in the essay. The key to close reading is, of course, observation taking note of what you read and what you think about it, and asking questions. The good news is that the texts you are asked to read closely are usually not that long, which means you can read them several times. Each time you read a text, you will notice more and more. Let’s start with what you notice when you first read a poem or passage of fiction.

Generally, literacy reading is directly related to the reasons for reading; broadly, these reasons include reading for pleasure and personal interest, learning, and participation in society. The early reading of most young students often includes reading of narrative texts that tell a story (e.g., storybooks or picture books) or informational texts that tell students about the world around them and answer questions. As young students develop their literary abilities and are increasingly required to read in order to learn across the curriculum, reading to acquire information from books and other print materials becomes more important.

Purpose for reading often is associated with certain types of texts. For example, reading for literary experience often is accomplished through reading fiction, while reading to acquire and use information generally is associated with informative articles and instructional texts. However, the purposes for reading do not align strictly with text types. For example, biographies or autobiographies can be primarily informational or literary, but serve both purposes.


  • Reading is the intellectual process of decoding a text
  • Read newspaper- information
  • Academic books- knowledge
  • To read reference book more attention is needed
  • Different methods of reading- for different purposes
  • Close reading- explication of text- minute analysis of the text
  • Purpose for reading and types of texts
  • Reading fiction- literary experience
  • Instructional texts- get information

Objective Questions

  1. Why do we read newspapers?
  2. Why do we read articles?
  3. What is meant by close reading?
  4. Who has written the book titled How Does a Poem Mean?
  5. How will you usually start analysing and eassy?
  6. Name a genre that serve both informational and literary purposes.


  1. Information
  2. For ideas and perspectives
  3. It is an explication of text
  4. John Ciardi
  5. With larger ideas
  6. Biography


  1. What are the different purposes of reading?
  2. What is the nature of reading a fictional work?
  3. What do most young students read in their early days?

Suggested Reading

  1. Jago, Carol., Renee H. Shea, Lawrence Scanlon and Robin Dissin Aufses. Litera-ture and Composition: Reading – Writing – Thinking, Bedford, 2010.
  2. James, David . Modernism and Close Reading, Oxford UP, 2020.