How to read 101

If I was ever to become an English teacher, I can imagine that this would be how I would introduce my first class. Note that this is in no way a guide or a reason to change your view on reading, simply an insight into how I tackle new readings myself, expressed poetically. At the end, there will be an explanation so I can better explain what I mean. body_reading


How to read 101:

Ah, yes. Welcome, class! Settle down and take a seat.

You’ve arrived here to learn, yes?

Then this lesson should be a treat.


When you crack open a novel,

all you can do sometimes is marvel

at the words, phrases, devices

in a writing piece most thoughtful.


The same goes with all stories, books, and plays.

So many layers interwoven, it’s insane!

Tackle this in all three ways or reading.


I’m talking about the heart, soul, and brain.


Now, I do believe we’re familiar

with three words sounding so familiar

A certain ethos, pathos, and logos.

Now, isn’t this just quite peculiar?


Logos, the logic, rooted in our mind

so when you read a book, you aren’t so blind,

and layers of detail, I’m sure you’ll find.


With the brain you think and analyze

Identify the style, word choice and device.

Was that an anecdote, smile, or something just as wise?


Read another way and I’m sure you’ll uncover

the layers of emotion, yet to discover.

Switch your perspective and feel for real

with no longer your brain, but a heart of zeal.


Use your heart and you shall know,

the pathos inside this story well wrote,

a characters ambitions, motivations, and choices,

all speaking to them in different voices.


The strength of emotion is a powerful notion

that sets our characters into motion

driving them to a stare of commotion,

or facing problems vast as the ocean.


The final way to read is much more spiritual,

one that leaves some quite cynical

is the power to read with the soul

which will finally make your understanding whole.


This kind of reading takes days to take effect

but you will know it when it begins to infect,

the large ideas, takeaways and understandings

within your mind have just made landings.


Reading with the soul

Makes your reading feel whole,

you can hold the book in the air and stand

“Now that’s a read I truly understand!”


The way I go about reading a book is largely in three parts. Reading it with the mind/brain , heart, and soul. Each one of these relates to the three styles of argumentation; being ethos, pathos, and logos.

Using your brain to read is reading for the actual literary devices in the text. How did the use of alliteration here, or a metaphor there, or how did that cacophony add to the piece of text you are reading? This type is all about the details. You can use it for individual lines, phrases, or paragraphs. Its gets harder to do at once the longer the piece goes, as each line has its own share of devices. An example of this was the quote from Frankenstein we analyzed in class.

Using your heart is understanding on a slightly larger scale, used for understanding the characters in the story. Characters have large themes of emotion over the course of the novel. Take Frankenstein for example. Victor Frankenstein was first a man of scientific thought, but the events of the book change and the gales of emotion begin to blow in a different direction.

Finally, using your soul to read allows you to understand the book at a large scale. The large themes that stick with you once you’ve finished the book. The theme of revenge in Frankenstein, say.

Why did I choose these three body parts in particular to represent your reading habits? It’s really quite simple. Biology.

Your brain cells are the easiest to damage, and while some last you a lifetime, others can die at the flick of a forehead. Don’t take that on my account and flick your forehead now. It doesn’t work the same way with your heart. Heart cells last up to around seven years within someone, and it takes more than a flick to kill your heart cells. And finally, with the soul. It is quite literally impossible to damage someone’s soul, and thus, it is the largest, most moving themes of the book that stick with us.

“Accursed creator! Why did you form a monster so hideous that even YOU turned from me in disgust? God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring, after his own image; but my form is a filthy type of yours, more horrid even from the very resemblance. Satan had his companions, fellow devils, to admire and encourage him, but I am solitary and abhorred.”

If I asked you about this quote after class, you could probably tell me all about it and give me a good analysis. If I asked you a week later, you would probably remember that the quote talked about The Monster’s hate toward Frankenstein, and not much more. And if I asked you a month later, you would probably just remember that quote was about hate.

Three parts of your body that you read with, providing you with a more complete understanding of the book you read, from specific to general, logic to emotion.

Happy reading!


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2 thoughts on “How to read 101

  1. Dear Areeb,

    Well, with an explanation like that I could definitely see you teaching. The eloquence used in the explanation towards the end of the post is something I see maybe a professor saying. You transition between the three ways we can read well, as the structure of your paragraphs is kept and flow maintained. I definitely agree with the concept of readings from the soul lasting the longest, as what affects our souls affects our very being and persona.

    Some improvement (let the nitpicking begin) that I believe could be made format of the poem being almost Dr. Seuss like. Whether this be by design or not, I think that as teacher whom is introducing the concepts of ethos, pathos, or logos to students, that the audience not be children, or addressed as such. It almost breaks consistency, but that’s just me nitpicking!

    Overall, I really enjoed this piece, and the ending that you wrote, after rereading it, I realize sounds like something Hunnisett would say. Good job channeling your inner AP ELA teacher!


  2. Dearest Areeb,

    I’m sorry it’s such a late comment! (incredibly)

    I have to say, I was very absorbed with the syntax of your writing. The sentences were acute and the rhyme schemes you attached to your poem were delightful to read. I found myself pacing along to the rhythm in your sentences and once I had developed my own pace, I was sort of bobbing my head along as I read!
    I think you would make an excellent ELA teacher, and you would be a delight to any student you teach.

    The only correction I have for you is your audience. I believe that your goal of this speech was towards a class of high school students, as the concepts of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos are ones we learned in our high school years. So my suggestion to you is that you format your words maintaining the same style, but remaining aware of the audience you are presenting it to.
    (Unless of course that was the point; to put for a voice addressing children in order to capture the audience, then by all means continue!)
    Other than that, I loved it, it was adorable, and it most certainly appealed to me.
    I would leave my child in the hands of a teacher like you! 🙂

    Thank you for this lovely piece Areeb.
    I’ll miss you after this semester!

    With love,
    Mama Timi

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