Course Content
Chapter 3: Writing Mechanics Help
Chapter 12: Teaching Writing
Chapter 23: Teaching Reading
College English Composition: Help and Review
About Lesson

Writing Portfolio

A writing portfolio is a collection of written works to showcase the skills and talents of a writer. Portfolios can be creatively designed or follow an organized template depending on the objectives the writer is aiming to accomplish. Writing portfolios are used for many professional reasons. Students in a writing or English class create writing portfolios so that the instructor can assess their writing capabilities. In the professional world, a writer can use a portfolio as an add-on to their resume so potential employers can analyze their work and determine if the writer should join their organization. Portfolios can also be used for self-assessment. A writer can collect their work over time and compare their writing to previous works to see how they have progressed.

How To Write a Portfolio

Many models describe how to write a portfolio. The construction of a portfolio often depends on what the portfolio’s main purpose is. Some educational institutions will create a model that displays a basic template that writing students should follow when building their portfolios. There are common steps that any writer should follow in most cases when creating their portfolio. The first thing that writers should do is to make sure to present their best written work. After this, a writer can include any prewriting samples, outlines, drafts, revision notes, and final drafts.

The next steps for a writer are to make a cover letter, include works in the body of the portfolio, add any additional works they want to include, and ensure final drafts are placed in the portfolio.

Cover Letter in a Writing Portfolio

The cover letter, sometimes known as a written statement, is the writer’s introduction and includes the contents of the portfolio. The cover letter can include a brief biographical summary of the writer including their background, experiences, and future career goals. The cover letter can also provide a preview of the type of work in the portfolio and the reason for the work.

Body of an English Portfolio

Depending on the purpose of the portfolio, the body may be an area where a writer includes a reflective essay that shows the reflection on the progress the writer has made and how it ties into their work. The body of an English or writing portfolio is where the writer should organize their best work. The writer should include their best written drafts and any other completed writing projects. Usually, in English writing courses, the instructor or the institution will have a list of needed works for the student to have in their body of the portfolio. The guides will usually want students to include writing that showcases their work from a broad range of topics. The portfolio body should include work from earlier writing projects as well as more recent works.

Additional Work in a Portfolio

Creative writing portfolios may include other works to add value to the overall portfolio. After the cover letter, reflective essay, and body, a creative writing student may want to consider adding any journals, free writings, and reader responses they have collected during their career.

Final Drafts in a Portfolio

Components that need to be included with the final drafts in a writing portfolio are:

  • All drafts – rough drafts, review drafts, revision drafts, and other types of drafts.
  • Peer reviews – prewriting reviews, published reviews, blind reviews, instructor reviews, etc.
  • Outlines – writing outlines, formal outlines, informal outlines, topic outlines, and more.
  • Prewriting notes – brainstorming, freewriting, storyboarding, and mind mapping.

Importance of a Creative Writing Portfolio

A creative writing portfolio is important to help keep track of the writer’s growth and development. Other important reasons to have a writing portfolio are:

  • To help a writer make decisions in their writing for the future.
  • To analyze the work done throughout a writing course.
  • To manage time for each step of the writing process.

English Portfolio Examples

Most English portfolio examples will showcase a writer’s ability to write well across a wide range of topics and formats.

Below is a generic writing portfolio template example for an English student in college.

I. Cover Letter

– Introduction

– Biography (could include a picture)

– Preview of work in the portfolio

II. Body

– Reflective Essay

– Revised writings from earlier classes

– One paper on a creative topic

– One paper on an argumentative topic

– A peer-reviewed and revised paper

III. Additional work

– Journal entries

– Entertainment writing (music, video games, movie scripts, etc.)

– Free writing, notes, brainstorming sessions

– Personal projects

Another example of a writing portfolio may be someone attempting to gain employment as a writer for an organization.

I. Cover letter

– Explain interest in the position.

– Briefly describe how both parties would benefit.

– Explain their experience, background, and how the writer would fit with the organization.

– Describe the type of work in the portfolio.

II. Body

– Add the best work from previous organizations, including works from a writing course if applicable.

– Showcase writing from the most recent organization or employer.

– Include work that aligns with the objectives of the job description.

III. Additional work

– Show writing that includes a broad range of topics.

– Show writing in various formats.

– Include peer reviews, journals, outlines, or other creative pieces.

Lesson Summary

A writing portfolio is an organized list of written work that showcases the abilities and skills of a writer. In English writing courses, a student would use a portfolio to collect writings from various stages of the course. Writing portfolios are also used by writers who want to showcase their best work to potential employers. Portfolios are important for writers to monitor their growth and development. Through the use of portfolios, writers can also analyze their work throughout the course of their career, make decisions about future writings, and learn how to manage time during the writing process.

The first part of writing a portfolio is constructing a cover letter. A cover letter should introduce the author, explain what essays are included, and briefly explain the writing capabilities of the writer. The body of the portfolio should include an essay reflecting on the writer’s work and goals. The body should also include the writer’s best work and elements that align with the objective of the portfolio, such as peer reviews, prewriting notes, outlines, and all levels of drafts. A portfolio, especially a creative writing portfolio, may include additional writings such as journals, reader responses, and free writing samples.

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