We talkin’ ’bout practice?

Ignore the title.  I just thought of Allen Iverson when thinking about how I was supposed to read an essay about reading for a writing class.

Anyone unfamiliar with what I’m referencing, here you go:

Anyway, the way Iverson feels about practice is the way I feel about reading.  It sucks, it’s boring, it has no point, and it should be eliminated from all curriculum anywhere and everywhere forever.

Hopefully my sarcasm is obvious enough.  Nevertheless, I usually point it out anyway.  I was cursed with a mean stare and a deep voice, which is unfortunate because then people often misunderstand my lame sense of humor.  But the point is, while I do love reading and of course see its value, I do struggle with it, both in terms of finding time to read and in understanding what I read.  On those standardized tests in grade school, I always killed the writing part then did very poorly on the “reading comprehension” section (I put that in quotes because the phrase became something of a taboo for me in my rise to academic prosperity).

That is why (yes there’s a point to this blog post) I enjoyed the Tierney/Pearson essay on the composing model of reading, in which one composes their own interpretation (or dare I say it, comprehension) of what it is they are reading.  The reason I liked it is that the model they describe is eerily similar to the common writing process (how ironic!!!).  <—again, sarcasm

They make it sound so simple.  The steps are clear, and ones I’ve followed many times before in writing: planning, drafting, aligning (I wasn’t sure what that meant until reading about it), revising, and monitoring.  My favorite step is monitoring, in which you take time to reflect on what you’ve read or written.

This process works so well in writing, and  following it can make for very effective results.  I feel I cannot be a great writer until I can overcome my reading demons.  And, I would love to be a better reader, just so I can enjoy reading again and not worry so much about it.  So, perhaps I should try implementing this model into my reading, and maybe I will have more success in “reading comprehension.”

If only I could get a guaransheed that it’d work:

4 thoughts to “We talkin’ ’bout practice?”

  1. This is fantastic, Zach! I really love the way you include where your mind went (“talkin’ about practice”) and the connection you make between the idea of practice and the practice of reading and writing. Also, I’m sure many of us relate to your experience with standardized testing! One thing I became interested in as I watched the video: Iverson (whose voice I LOVE) was really funny and compelling in his argument about how the game is what the fans need to see–AND at the same time I wonder about what it says (for you) about his commitment to the less sexy part of being an athlete that he also seems to denigrate the need (despite his two assertions that he gets it) to be reliable in THAT arena. Of course, there are so many possible levels to his repetition of that phrase, etc…all of which to say, I think that was kind of a great video to include, and I would have even enjoyed a little more comment on it. Such good work!

    1. Thanks! In response to the question about his commitment (or lack thereof) to practice, I can’t say I really have a response. When he was in his prime, Iverson was pound-for-pound the best basketball player in the world. Obviously he had to dedicate himself to practice, right? The rant was in response, I believe, to him missing practice. So I really don’t know. The guy gave it his all on the court, when he did play, but what’s interesting is that he basically walked out on three different teams at the end of his career. That’s the complete opposite of someone like, say, Shaquile O’Neal, who played literally until his body couldn’t handle it anymore.

  2. Zach,

    Very funny. I love that Iverson video (and yes, I knew exactly where you were headed from your title). We talkin’ about readin?

    I agree with you on a number of your points. The piece was mainly difficult to read because it told us how we read/write. Yes, a very bold move.

    But it is cool to think of the way we understand a text. Is it that vastly different than what the author intended? Maybe we’ll never know. Cool to think about nonetheless.

    Andrew

  3. After reading your post, I looked at our reading assignment this way in a less critical light. In class, our group was tough and harsh about the authors’ adamant arguments. However, you are right. Essentially, the article, regardless of whether it is true or not, is an interpretation of someone’s perception of reading (and writing). It is important for us when engaging in writing and reading to understand the process more so that we advance and improve ourselves. One thing for certain is that right now, everyone can benefit from being more conscious about how they read and write. Actually, be conscious about anything, even basketball, would help us improve.

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