As most languages, German for instance is an exception, in german exists a neutral gender as well, in Portugues we have only feminine and masculine. (Something actually very strange, because from a logical point of view things are neutral and living beings have a gender and this gender is a very important difference, it is astonishing that no language takes that into account. Even in german, where there is a neutral gender, most of the things are feminine or masculine.) The grammatical gender is arbitrary. Some people always wonder why the moon is feminine in Portuguese and the sun masculine, the book masculine and the table feminine. No need to dig there any further, it is just arbitrary.
Only in the case of living beeings we have a gender. That concerns professions, butcher, baker, engineer etc.., members of religious groups, catholics, protestants, moslems, hindus etc.., activities dancer, jogger, writer etc.. and so on. In this case we use the feminine article for feminine member(s) of these groups and the masculine article for the masculine member(s) and we have to distinguish between singular and plural.
* Right now we don't care about the conjugation of the verbs, we will do that later. However the conjugation of regular verbs, to which the verb ler = to read doesn't belong to, is easy. There are three types of verbs, those who en in -ar like falar, those who end in -e, like comer and those who end in -ir like partir. For a detailed description see 5. conjugation of the verbs in present.
Since we always need a verb in the conjugated form in order to make a sentence and since we need to make a little bit more complex sentences in order to explain something, we explain the conjugation briefly.
In order to conjugate a regular verb we leave out the endings of the infinitive forms -ar, -er, -er and to what is left we add the respective personal ending. The lê, he / she / it reads, is irregular. We don't care as well about the personal pronouns eu (I), tu (you), ele (he), ela (him) etc.. This is just a short introduction to the conjugation. No need to care about it at the moment.
Verb falar infinitive ends on -ar to speak
you speak **
they speak (plural.masc.)
they speak (fem. masc.)
* The second person singular is in general not used in Brasilian portuguese and has been substituted by você. In other words, the distinction between tu, used in European Portuguese in more informal situations and higher intimacy, and você, something between informal and formal situation has vanished in Brasilian Portuguese. In really formal situation we use O senhor / A senhora on both sides of the Atlantic. For a more detailed discussion see 5.conjugation of the verbs in present.
** The plural form can be used on both sides of the atlantic in informal situations and less formal situations. In formal situations Os senhores / As senhores is used on both sides of the Atlantic.