The numbers do have generalized meanings within each elemental suit. For example, the aces are considered the raw potential of a suit. So the ace of swords might mean that you are beginning to have some new ideas on a subject. You can just memorize the meanings of each card as a start to have good background information, but I think it is also important to be flexible in your thinking and use your own intuition in reading cards within spreads.
I am sure there are plenty of books out there, but before you spend any cash I will direct you to a site that helped me out with the card meanings a great deal:
Hope that helps! Blessings!