HomeBack to SchoolSchool Supplies

Third- through fifth-grade: back-to-school supply list

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By GreatSchools Staff

Basic Supplies for Your Home Computer

Computer printer paper

Printer ink cartridges

Basic Supplies to Donate to the Classroom

Facial tissue

Bottle of hand sanitizer

Shopping Tips

A number of states have "tax-free" days during back-to-school season, when state sales taxes are lifted.

Check our 10 Tips for Smart Shopping for more advice to save your time, money and sanity.

This list is meant as a general guide to get you started. Every teacher's list is a little different. Some recommend specific brands, such as Fiskars scissors for example, or sizes. Some recommend buying in larger quantities than we've listed here. Many will give you a shorter list.

Teachers' Most Wanted List

What's the most important item to buy for back to school? We asked some of the award-winning teachers on the GreatSchools panel of experts. Their response:

Tools to help kids get - and stay - organized.

"If your school does not provide a folder for keeping organized, do it yourself," said Jane Ann Robertson, Arizona's 2004 Teacher of the Year. More organizing ideas:

  • A school box. Nicola Salvatico, a first-grade teacher who was Pennsylvania's 2005 Teacher of the Year, recommends a box that's 8 inches long by 5 inches wide by 2 inches deep to hold pencils, crayons, erasers and scissors.
  • A folder. Robertson recommends a folder with two pockets, one marked "Keep at Home" and another marked "Bring Back to School" to help keep your child organized.

Comments from readers

"this seems like a lot of stuff but very helpfil,thanks "
"its great on giving me ideas "
"thank u so much "
"it would be great if the school lists were printable. Thank you, "
"What school supplies will my daughter need when she goes to 5th grade? To me, this is the best site on school supplies you can contact me by email and I have also typed in my email above. I am always available, and i'll make sure to recommend you guys as the best school supplies site in America! More people will make sure of it. Anyway contact me and tell me I will be so happy when you contact me! Thanks and have a very very very nice day! =) "
"This article helps you a lot on what you need to know! "
"This is great. but i prefer zipper binders and earaseble pens and highliters. "
"i think they should have all the kids keep there own stuff and get them back at the end of the year.because at my school the kids bring in supllies and they take almost all of it so i think they should just let them keep there school supplies. "
"i think you should put less because some people dont have enough money "
"Make sure you do not buy fancy pencils or sharpeners it's a waste of money. "
"The most important school supply you can offer your kids would be free and straight from the heart....send them to school knowing they are loved no matter what happens and they are missed while away and you will have kids wanting to talk about their day and eager to be part of the world. Btw, each school & class requires different things for classes and in our town the individual schools, and classes, post their lists at the local Fred Meyers. We just go to the store and get everythign we need, of course not all supplies are purchased at Fred Meyers because the Dollar Store comes in real handy for us....:) Love your kids they will be grown up before you blink.....!! "
"awesome school! "
"Crayons for a fifth grader!!! Seriously? They are thick and harder to use than pencil crayons. You can't draw as well with them. And fifth graders at my school aren't allowed to use them for those very reasons. Fancy pencils are fine. Only kindergartens have mine events. By fifth grade we don't do that. No one did it in forth grade or third grade either. The fancy erasers are fine too. From years of experimenting with fancy erasers some fancy erasers are better than plain boring erasers. "
"I'm going into grade 5. I hate crayons so much. I hate colouring like a baby. And zipper binders are very helpful and they fit in my desk fine. I don't need index cards. I stopped making flash cards in first grade. Seriously. Thats for babies. Maybe you should study what is needed more. And fancy erasers work great. Seriously. "
"were r the school supplies 4 5th grade???!!! "
"you forgot backpack "
"This is such a found list! "
"usually most schools don't need that many things, and all schools are different, so i advise everyone that they should check their schools shopping list first. "
"how about tips on how third threw fifth grade are gonna be ."
"why do any grades in elementary school need stapler not even 3rd 4th or 5th the to young any way"
"Please remember during this bad economy, try to help families in need, churches and organizations with school supplies and clothes for less fortunate. A lot of parents are having hard time to get their kids ready for this new school year. Please be a blessing for a family in need"
"i think this list is great"
"thanks for a great service"
"why do 3rd graders need staplers and what kind!"
"Can you seperate for each grade level. Not all schools need that much stuff."
"what if you need these school supplies and cant find them?"
"This was very helpful to my parents and I. I've been looking all over the internet for a fifth grade shopping list. I thought I'd never find one! Then I clicked this link and found it!! I had to think for a minute because I thought that I had no choise, I thought I HAD to print it. But I thought for a minute and then I started just writing it all on a peice of paper! Now I just have to go to the store and I'll be ready for school!"
"This is so helpful to younger minds and there parents! This gets them on the right track! You should mention that 2 weeks after school starts it will be half off!"
"These children need to learn self respect and for see that putting them in school colors will give them the self respect. It is to expesive to buy clothes for more them one child, where buying them uniforms It is much cheaper and they look good in unigorms. Less clothes will be missing or stolen. Lets bring uniforms back to school."
"Thank you for some very helpful suggestions. You people are priceless."
"I was very happy to see that this site was available. My child has been attending the same school for five years and I was disappointed to see that they had no information available for supplies or a schedule of events. Nothing! I want to let you know I am grateful for having this site to help. Thank you! "
"I am Having a difficult time paying for my kids supplies, and my community center said that they ran short this year and can not help. My husband died in May, and I am riddled with expenses, and on disability. The sschool said they will waive my tuitions, but cant help with supplies. Do you have any ideas. I have one 10 year old going into 5th grade, and a 12 year old going into 7th. Regards, Krisit Doll"
"this is a great site for parents and teachers"
"This is a great site to keep parents up to date. Finding out important information online for our kids is great knowing its only a finger tip away."
"great job!"
"I teach 3rd grade and noticed that on your list of supplies you recommended hand-held pencil sharpeners. I do not allow my students to use these because they spend way too much time sharpening and re-sharpening during class. I also find the shavings all over the classroom. I bought 5 good electric sharpeners instead and the whole class can sharpen 2 pencils in less than 2 minutes. Thanks for your consideration."
"My kids school has supply lists available in the school office. For some reason they will not respond to the local stores that have requested them. All schools are different and need different items.This list is helpful and is a great starting point, My son's list is huge and has crazy requests on it. "
"School boxes are nice, but as a teacher I really do not like them. They are really noisy and can be a distraction. The pouches are much better. "
"Our school doesn't like school boxes - they ask that we buy pouches instead as they are more flexible and fit in crowded desks more easily."
"The back to school supply list was very helpful since my sons will be entered a new school system that I'm not familar with. Thanks for the tips."
"This is a really good site to look at whenI dont know what I need."