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Laurence's Story


Laurence's reading is problematic; he can't read an entire assignment in one night and that's exactly what he tries to do. Laurence says to himself "it's not due until later in the week so I don't have to read it tonight." He feels guilty when he puts off doing his work but it is not enough guilt to get him motivated to do the work.

When he does read, the first thing Laurence does is check to see how long the assignment is, and usually he says to himself "Oh god, this is going to take forever." But, he starts to read and before completing the fourth page he is distracted by thinking about the next game, how practice went, or what his girlfriend is doing. Laurence is persistent so he continues until he turns each of the assigned pages. When he is finished turning the assigned pages, even though he doesn't understand and remember very much of what he read, he feels a sense of accomplishment because he can he read it. Laurence doesn't take notes while reading because just doing the reading takes time; writing notes would make it even more time-consuming.

He failed his exams in the three reading-dependent courses he is taking. Laurence is taking sociology, history, and an English course. The sociology and history courses that required textbooks and the weekly assignments are approximately 50 pages in each. These textbooks are very considerate, having a significant number of text aids in each chapter. There are aids in the beginning, throughout, and at the end of each chapter. THe lectures in both of these courses emphasize material that is covered in the texts. The English course has required novels to read, approximately one paperback each week. Class time is spent discussing the assigned novels and the themes that are addressed in them. With all of this assigned reading, it is easy for Laurence to feel overwhelmed.

Academics are important to him. Laurence's disappointment is in himself. He can't seem to get started or know how to begin to change. Laurence is not up-to-date with his academic responsibilities, particularly his reading assignments, so he procrastinates. In fact, Laurence can't seem to change his reading behavior at all. It seems as if everything else in the world is more important that reading that assigned material.

Laurence learns best by doing, listening, talking about the information, and relating new information to his experiences. Once he hears the material and discusses it, it's easier for him to remember it. Once he hears the coach say it, he understands and knows what to do. he does so well on the field but not in the classroom!

Think about these questions and share your answers!

  • What specific strategies might you suggest to Laurence for reading the textbook?
  • In any reading strategy that Laurence uses, what steps should always be included?
  • Have you ever been in a situation similar to Laurence's? If so, what did you do to effect change and were you successful?
  • How can Laurence motivate himself to balance his responsibilities?
  • Looking at Laurence's situation, in what ways is a student-athlete's life different from that of other students on campus? In what ways are they similar?

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