Your final assignment for this semester will be the cover letter that will introduce the pieces in your portfolio and allow you to reflect on your development as a writer over the course of this semester. This letter should be typed as a single-spaced letter in block format (paragraphs aligned at the left margin, with an extra line between paragraphs) that is addressed to the members of the Portfolio Committee who will be reading your portfolio.
You may want to begin the essay with an introduction to who you were as a writer as you came into this class, maybe something brief about your background and how you assessed your strengths and weaknesses, maybe something about what your assumptions had been about the class or about college writing in general.
The body of your letter should discuss the three essays you’ve included in the portfolio (the logical way to set this up would be one paragraph per essay). Explain why you chose each essay and how each illustrates your abilities as a writer. In essence, the letter should at least in part be an argument that you’ve achieved the course objectives of English 11. (You may want to check the syllabus here.) Be sure to consider and discuss the applicable criteria of focus, development, organization, mechanics, and research skills that the committee will be evaluating. Be sure to refer to specific parts/places in each essay. For at least one of the essays (perhaps the one that gave you the most difficulties), trace the essay’s evolution through the stages of generating topic and details, drafting, revision, and proofreading.
Your conclusion (a final attempt to sway your readers) might include any recognitions you’ve made about yourself as a writer and any changes you’ve made (or plan to make) in your writing process.
An important reminder: Your letter itself should also serve as evidence of your writing competence in its focus, development, and organization.
Length guidelines: I expect that a well-developed letter would be at least 500 words or so.
Student samples from previous semester: