Reflective Portfolio Essay


As a part of my English 101 course assessment, I have been assigned to do a descriptive essay. I wrote and submitted two papers named “The Playroom as the Heart of the House” and “Jack in The Box is Better than Sonic”. Throughout the learning process, with the help of the English 101 syllabus, peer reviews and instructor’s comments my writing skills have improved substantially. These improvements allowed me to correct my initial mistakes and increase the overall quality of the papers. This reflection essay examines the three main areas in which I have conducted the revisions, and why they are better than the original text.

Topic Sentence Revision

The thesis, topic sentences, introduction and conclusion were originally my weaknesses. The English 101 Syllabus indicate that the descriptive essay must include attention-grabbing opening sentences that provide a clear image that is thematically related to the overall contents of the paper. The Syllabus also specify that the thesis statement must be connected to the title of the work. At first try, I have failed on both accounts, with a relatively bland opening statement and a weak thesis that had little connection to the title.

Originally my attention getter was “The playroom is a great place to have in the house because it has tons of things to do for the family.”. It lacks clarity and articulation and does not provide any initial information to support the claim, with “tons of things” being a very general and stylistically inappropriate phrase. I revised the sentence to a better attention getter with. “The playroom is a great place to have in the house because it provides multiple entertainment opportunities for the whole family.”.

This is a substantial improvement as the new opening sentence is more stylistically suitable to the assignment and therefore holds a reader’s attention better. On a similar note, after the revision I changed my title for the compare and contrast essay to “Sonic Fast Food Restaurants Comparison” to fit a more academical style.

Additionally, I revised my thesis, with the original saying “The playroom fulfils its purpose by having toys like the kitchen and easel to keep the kid’s interest.”. This thesis statement is inadequate as it does not provide a clear connection to the topic and the title of the paper. I changed it to “It is the heart of the house where all members of the family can spend their free time playing and enjoying each other’s company.”. My new thesis connected back to my new title of the essay called “The Playroom as the Heart of the House”. It is significantly better in illustrating the idea of the playroom serving as occupational and emotional center of the household.

Grammar Improvement

At first, grammar was a significant issue for me, with the first body paragraph of my descriptive essay containing ten errors ranging from punctuation to stylistic. In my revision I corrected all the errors that my instructor had brought up to my attention in accordance with the notes. In the original I wrote “Toys are all throughout the playroom for the children’s enjoyment”. In the revision I changed it to “For children, the playroom has a multitude of toys that can be found throughout the place.”. These are the major differences and revisions I made to correct those parts of my essay. Such revisions substantially increase the overall quality of the paper making it more readable and effective in getting the argument across.

Outline and Paragraph Content

Originally, I had poor outline writing and I still do but it is somewhat better and the ability to apply a variety of rhetorical genres (e.g. description, illustration, comparison and contrast, and rhetorical analysis) to construct and organize essay or paragraph content and to integrate your ideas smoothly in your written work (from the English 101 course objectives) was better in my revisions. To provide an example, I made my conclusion longer and included the content that connected it to the thesis statement, thus improving the consistency trough the illustration technique. Increased following of the academic writing guidelines has benefited my rigour and relevance (Patriotta, 747).

Similarly, my revisions for the compare and contrast paper included editing out large amounts of irrelevant poorly structured text. It included editing out stylistically unsuitable phrases, such as “Everything from their burgers to drinks are better, they just are”.

The progress is especially evident with the conclusion, that summarizes the key points and arguments of the descriptive essay. My new conclusion lists and re-establishes the reasons of why the playroom can be called the heart of the house. Namely, it mentions its accessible location in the centre of the house and opportunities it provides for multigenerational family entertainment. Originally, the re-establishment of these arguments was missing from the conclusion and the composition was much weaker. I improved a lot and was able to revise my essay with more content than in the original.


In conclusion, I was able to improve my essays substantially with the help of my academical supervisor and educational materials available within the course. The revised descriptive essay has a more effective attention grabber and thesis statement, is better structured and contains little to no grammatic errors. The revised compare and contrast essay is much more focused and well-presented after the corrections. Greater compliancy with English 101 Syllabus and academic writing guidelines allowed me to polish and develop my writing skills. Undoubtedly, the revised versions are more convincing and delivers a better articulated and consistent argument that is suitable for wide and diverse audiences.

Work Cited

Patriotta, Gerardo. “Crafting Papers For Publication: Novelty And Convention In Academic Writing”. Journal Of Management Studies, vol 54, no. 5, 2017, pp. 747-759. Wiley. Web.

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ChalkyPapers. "Reflective Portfolio Essay." August 3, 2022.