REACTION ESSAY
How to plan and write an effective essay
READ OR VIEW PROMPT
Take time to read or view the prompt that has
been given to you.
 On a piece of paper, note the main ideas or focal
points of the prompt.

For a written prompt, make sure you can create a
quality summary: author, title, main ideas
 For a visual prompt, make sure you can create a
quality description: creator, title, focal points

Use the main ideas you have gathered to create
your introductory/hook paragraph.
 When writing your introductory paragraph,
assume your reader has not read/viewed the
prompt .

BRAINSTORMING AND OUTLINING

Evaluate your reaction to the prompt

What are your feelings after reading/viewing the
prompt
Your feelings are the focus of the essay.
 Create a thesis statement that mentions the
prompt and the main idea (your main feeling)
 How will you support the main idea of the essay?



Think about your feelings and the elements of the
prompt that created those feelings
Create an outline by generating ideas/examples/
explanation that will support your feelings.

Make sure you have strong topic sentences for each
body paragraph.
WRITE YOUR ESSAY
Working from the outline, create your first draft
of the essay.
 Review the draft

Pay close attention to unity and coherence. Did you
follow your outline?
 Check for sentence structure and grammar errors.


Write your final draft to be submitted for a grade.
EXAMPLE OUTLINE

Topic: Firewalking Video from National
Geographic
http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/player/places/cultureplaces/festivals-celebrations/greece-firewalking-pp.html

Introductory Paragraph
 Hook:
Technique? Summary of the Prompt
 Ideas for Hook: Accurate discussion of the main ideas:
firewalking history, different opinions on firewalking,
actual ritual


Thesis Statement: After viewing the
Firewalking video from National Geographic, I
felt impressed by the expressions of faith I saw
and reminded that we should not judge others.
EXAMPLE OUTLINE

Body Paragraph One
 Topic Sentence: The faith of the villagers
impressed me.

Support One: Ability to maintain ancient tradition



Support Two: Belief in the power of St. Constantine
 Detail: performing firewalk will honor and thus obtain
saint’s protection
Support Three:


Detail: ritual generates from centuries old belief
Detail_______________________________________________
Conclusion: Return to TS or lead into next
paragraph? _____________________
EXAMPLE OUTLINE

Body Paragraph One
 Topic Sentence: The faith of the villagers
impressed me.




Support One: Belief in the power of St. Constantine
 Detail: performing firewalk will honor and thus obtain
saint’s protection
Support Two: Ability to maintain ancient tradition
 Detail: ritual generates from centuries old belief
Support Three: Continue tradition even though it is condemned
by some
 Detail: Main icon bearer dismisses the church’s negative
belief
Conclusion: Return to TS or lead into next
paragraph? Although the villagers’ impressive
faith allows their practice to continue, some in the
Greek Orthodox church do not agree with the
practice.
EXAMPLE OUTLINE

Body Paragraph Two
 Topic Sentence: I was not surprised by the Greek
Orthodox priest’s reaction to the tradition.




Support One: Belief that it was a pagan ritual was not
surprising to me
 Detail : many ancient rituals generate from pagan times
Support Two: While I have no problem with his manner or
expressions of faith, it strikes me that his own behavior,
manner of dress are reflections ancient beliefs
 Detail: He kissed the icons, he wore a long beard
Support Three: I find it funny how what is wrong to one person
is a simple expression of faith to another
 Detail: Religions are replete with expressions of faith that
are surprising.
Conclusion: Return to TS or lead into next
paragraph? Judging others is not a good idea
EXAMPLE OUTLINE

Body Paragraph Three
 Topic Sentence: I am reminded through the video
about the nature of faith and the need not to judge
others.




Support One: My own viewpoint about expressions of faith
 Detail: I know that some would not understand my faith
Support Two: While I don’t firewalk, there are other traditions
I follow that might surprise others
 Detail: Some generate from ancient beliefs: christmas trees,
easter bunny/eggs.
Support Three: The video reminded me that it is important not
to judge
 Detail As long as no one gets hurt!
Conclusion: Return to TS or lead into next
paragraph? The video showed an ancient
traditional expression of faith that challenged me
to review my own.
EXAMPLE OUTLINE

Summarize and Link to Thesis or Prediction or
Opinion?

Final opinion on the firewalking video – as long as no one is
forced to do it, I think firewalking is a really unique
expression of faith.