Informal Reflection Essay Template

How to Write a Reflection Paper on a Book

Knowing how to write a reflection paper on a book is very important because your teacher or professor might ask you to write one as part of your coursework. A reflection paper refers to an essay that is two or three pages long and it allows you to share thoughts on your experience after reading a book or watching a movie and applying what you have learned from the experience to your education and life- follow this link for more information.

A reflection paper on a book is mostly academic in nature but it is less formal. It should be based on your experience and it allows you to react to personal feeling after reading a book. While writing a reflection paper on a book, you are expected to provide personal feelings and support them with examples while citing the knowledge of an expert if possible.

Why you should know how to write a reflection paper on a book

Writing reflection papers on books is important because it enables students to evaluate their experiences after reading books. When you know how to write a reflection paper, you can easily compose one analytically when required to do so. Remember that a reflection paper is not just a summary of opinions and experiences. Writing a reflection paper entails deconstruction and analysis. Your teacher or professor wants you to not just recap the events or story line of the book but to dig deeper while discussing specific aspects. The reflections, analysis and discussion should be based on personal opinion.

Reflective writing allows you a chance to connect to and engage with a reading critically. You can opt to focus on a section or passage or respond to the major theme or premise of a book. Although a reflection paper should be subjective or personal, it should have an academic tone- follow the link here for more information.Writing a reflective paper entails maintaining an informal approach while maintaining an organized or coherent structure. To do this effectively, you need knowledge because a reflection paper on a book should be a dialogue between the reader and you regarding a particular book.

A five steps guide on how to write a reflection paper on a book

  1. Prepare to write the paper

The process of writing a reflection paper should start with proper preparation. If for instance the professor or teacher gave you a writing prompt, consider it thoroughly. Have the prompt in mind as you read the book that you are required to write your reflection paper on. This will enable you to come up with a reflection paper that meets all the specified requirements. After analyzing the prompt thoroughly, organize ideas to form an outline and take notes of the major points that you will cover in your paper. Arrange the points logically in the outline. This will keep you focused while writing the paper.

Although a reflection paper has a personal nature, you should not simply put your thoughts on a paper. Since it is an academic assignment, your introduction should be clear with a thesis statement. A good way of writing the introduction of a reflection paper is describing your initial expectations and attitude towards the book that you read. Let readers know what your first impression towards the book was and what your experience was after reading it.

  • Include a thesis statement

Just like with most writing assignments, your reflection paper should have a central, unifying idea in the introduction. Therefore, come up with a thesis statement for your reflection paper that reflects your experience while indicating the specific knowledge that you acquired after reading the book. Your thesis statement should be the theme on which your reflection paper is based.

In the body, elaborate the thesis statement that you stated in the introduction. Do not express your experience in generalities in the body. Instead, demonstrate how you reached the conclusions after reading the book citing specific examples from it. For instance, you can quote excerpts from the book directly to support your observations. Such citations will enable you to illustrate the topic in a clearer manner and enable readers to see the importance of the experience as well as the knowledge that you acquired after reading the book.

After supporting your thesis statement in the body using examples from the book that you are reflecting on, come up with a conclusion that ties the major points together. The conclusion should have a brief summary of the concluding feelings on the basis of the provided evidence and points. It should discuss the major points’ implication. Thus, after reading the conclusion of your reflection paper, readers should have a concise idea of the summary of the paper- follow the link classroom.synonym.com  for more information.

Generally, when you grasp how to write a reflection paper on a book, you can easily organize your thoughts and opinions methodically in the paper. You also acquire more writing skills by practicing writing reflection papers. This way, you will eventually know how to describe your analysis, opinion and reactions after reading books.

Characteristics of a good reflection paper on a book

Regardless of the setting or purpose of a reflective paper, there are characteristics that can be used to identify it. Once you grasp these characteristics and how to ensure that your paper has them, count yourself among those who know how to write a reflection paper on a book.

They are as follows:

Your reflection paper should not be simple thoughts put down on a paper as they emerge from your head. It should not be like a personal diary. Instead, it should indicate a reflective form of writing that serves an academic purpose. It should be written with a goal which could be to accomplish something, learn, demonstrate, understand better or improve.

A good reflection paper on a book should explore or demonstrate your personal experiences or feelings towards a book that you have read. It should demonstrate your position regarding the book.

A reflective paper on a book should not simply tell or describe a story. It should indicate a higher order or critical thinking. Readers should see that you are analyzing the book, synthesizing its content and evaluating it to determine your attitude or perception towards it. It should meet the main goal of reflective writing which is to express your thoughts and reasons for thinking about the book in a particular way-follow the link trentu.ca  for more information.

A good reflection paper should meet quality standards of clarity, precision, correctness and conciseness. Therefore, revise your paper and edit it thoroughly to ensure that it meets these quality standards.

Bonus hints and reminders on how to write a reflection paper on a book

  • Although you are allowed to include your reactions and thoughts towards the book that you read or simply your experience, do not rely on them alone.
  • Your reflection paper focuses on personal reactions, analysis and feelings towards a book than it would be the case for an analytical essay or formal research but you should ask your teacher or lecturer if you can use first person in writing the paper.
  • Do more than simply summarize your reading because a reflection paper on a book is not a mere free-flow of thoughts or ideas-See more at resources.cleary.edu.
  • Keep your reflective paper short by ensuring that it includes ideas that you can support with evidence from the book that you read only.
  • Before revealing what you learnt from the book, ask yourself if it is necessary. This is important because of the subjective opinions and feelings that are usually expressed in reflective papers.
  • Ensure that the main theme of the book that you are reflecting on comes out clearly in your paper. You can know the main theme of a book by reading the notes that you take while reading the book and in the preparation stage before you start writing the paper.
  • Use sample reflection paper as a guide for writing because a good sample will enable you to know how to structure your reflection paper on a book properly. Here is a link to an example of a reflection paper on the book, African Fractals by Rogan Eglash that you can use as your practical guide for writing a reflection paper on a book; www.slideshare.net.

Get help with a reflection paper on a book

If you encounter difficulties while writing a reflection paper on a book, talk to us for immediate assistance. You can also visit the homepage of our website for more information regarding our writing services. Alternatively, keep reading for additional guidelines on how to write a reflection paper on a book and sample papers on our blog.

Sources

http://classroom.synonym.com/keys-writing-reflection-paper-2614.html

https://www.trentu.ca/academicskills/documents/Reflectivewriting.pdf

http://resources.cleary.edu/page/Reflection+Paper,+Tips+for+Writing

http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Reflection-Paper

http://education.seattlepi.com/keys-writing-reflection-paper-5796.html

Your instructor just told you that your next writing assignment will be a reflective essay.

Reflective essays are about you, so you go home and take a good long look in the mirror.

Before you start writing about what you see on the surface, keep in mind that a reflective essay involves more than just a cursory glance. It requires taking a deeper look at yourself, stepping through the looking glass, so to speak, to discover and show important parts of yourself to your readers.

Image by sammydavisdog via flickr

Below, I’ll show you how to create a killer reflective essay outline, and I’ll even give you a downloadable template you can use to make your own outline.

What Is a Reflective Essay and How Is It Different from Other Essays?

So you may be asking yourself what a reflective essay is exactly. You’ve written many other types of essays for many different classes, so how is this any different?

First things first… a reflective essay is one in which you reflect on your personality, places you’ve been, people you’ve met, or experiences that have influenced you. This type of essay lets you tell the reader who you are and what/who has made you that way.

Unlike most other types of essays you may have written, reflective essays typically don’t deal with researching facts and figures. They are much more personal in nature and can be more fluid in structure and style.

It can be tempting to just jump right into writing, but hold on! A good reflective essay can be a great reflective essay with the proper planning.

Using a Reflective Essay Outline to Organize Your Thoughts

The goal of any essay is to write clearly and concisely about whatever topic you choose or are assigned. Unfortunately, with reflective essays, some people tend to get a little disorganized and start sounding like the Walrus, talking about anything and everything in no particular order.

Don’t be like the Walrus!

Using a reflective essay outline can help your writing in a few ways

  • An outline can help lay out exactly what details you want to use before you start writing. This is tremendously helpful because you won’t end up on your last paragraph and suddenly realize that you forgot to include a crucial element or two.
  • An outline gives you a clear roadmap instead of curvy paths and dead ends. You don’t have to wonder what’s supposed to come next because it’ll all be in the outline. In other words, you won’t have to spend time “in Wonderland.”
  • Because you can look at your reflective essay outline and follow it as you’re writing, ultimately you’ll save some time in your writing. Second-guessing what comes next, in what order the supporting details should go, or going back for big revisions because you forgot something important are all wastes of time.

Are you convinced yet that creating a reflective essay outline is the best option?

Good! Now let’s get to actually making that outline!

How to Craft a Good Reflective Essay Outline

Because the subject of reflective essays is different from that of, say, an argumentative essay, the structure and organization can also be quite different. However, some rules still apply. To start organizing, your reflective essay outline should include sections for the introduction, body and conclusion.

For the purposes of giving examples, let’s say Alice just got back from her adventures in Wonderland and is working on a reflective essay outline to tell about her experience there.

Image by Jessie Wilcox Smith via Wikimedia Commons

Introduction

As with any essay, your reflective essay should begin with an introduction. The parts of your introduction to include in your outline are:

  • The hook: you want to grab your reader’s attention from the very start. If you’re telling about an experience, give a quick preview of the most exciting part of that story.
  • The thesis statement: In a reflective essay, the thesis statement will usually include a brief statement of what your essay is about as well as how the specific person, place, or experience has influenced you. You will expand on this later, so don’t give away too much in the beginning.

Alice’s introduction might go something like this:

I don’t know how I had gotten myself into such a mess, but I found myself running down a seemingly endless path with the Red Queen’s entire court shouting, “Off with her head!” I had long yearned for adventure and excitement, but my time in Wonderland made me realize that adventure comes with some serious risks.

Body

The next part of your outline is perhaps the most important. Without your reflective essay outline, the body can get muddled and confusing. I can’t tell you exactly how to organize the body of your essay because every essay is going to be different. However, I do have a couple of tips.

  • If you are writing about an experience or an event, use a chronology that makes sense. It doesn’t have to be completely linear, but if you jump around in the timeline too much, it can confuse both you and the reader. Laying out the important parts in the outline will help you figure out in what order to put everything.
  • No matter what you’re writing your reflective essay about–an experience, person or place–you should include the impact it has madeand what, if anything, you learned. This should be at least as long of a section as the description of the event, person or place. It’s what shows off who you are and it’s what the reader will be most interested in.

The body paragraphs of Alice’s reflective outline may look something like this:

  1. Following the white rabbit down the rabbit hole
    1. Description of what happened
    2. Learning to look before I leap
  2. Meeting the Caterpillar
    1. Description of what happened
    2. I learned how to control my size
    3. I started to realize just how strange the people were in Wonderland
  3. Mad Tea Party
    1. Description of what happened
    2. Although a lot of fun, the tea party was very stressful
    3. The people I met were progressively crazier
  4. Croquet with the Red Queen
    1. Description of what happened
    2. It’s very hard to play croquet when the other person is cheating and threatening to behead you
    3. It was at this point when I realized that Wonderland had no rules, and that a world without rules is insane

As you can see, Alice’s timeline includes different events within the entire experience and with a moment of reflection on each. The final lesson learned is the epiphany–the aha! moment.

Your outline does not have to look just like this. It could be a summary of the entire experience, followed by what you learned from it. Like I said, every essay is different.

Conclusion

The conclusion of your reflective essay should be the finishing touch that brings the whole piece of writing together nicely. Include a brief summary of your main points (as stated in the body paragraphs), as well as the overall takeaway from your reflection.

For example, Alice’s conclusion would be similar to this:

The White Rabbit, Caterpillar, Mad Hatter, and the Red Queen are certainly faces that I’ll never forget. They each contributed to the sheer madness of Wonderland. But those people–that madness–made me thankful for the peace and security of my own home and family and its rules.

More Resources to Help with Your Reflective Essay Outline

I hope you have a better understanding of why and how to draft a good outline. To give you a bit of extra help, here’s a downloadable reflective essay outline template.

Reflective Essay Outline Template.

This outline template follows a 5-paragraph format, but you can add paragraphs and rearrange the body paragraphs to fit your needs. Just fill in the blanks with your own information, and you’ll be one step closer to a stellar essay.

Need more inspiration? Check out these reflective essay examples.

If you’re looking for topic ideas, check out 15 Reflective Essay Topics to Inspire Your Next Paper.

Good luck!

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