By GreatSchools Staff
Before you shop for back-to-school supplies, it's best to get a list of what's required from your child's school or new teacher. If the school list isn't available yet, you can still take advantage of back-to-school sales by sticking to the basics that you know your child will need.
No. 2 pencils (Parents should stick to the basics here, advises Nicola Salvatico, Pennsylvania's 2005 Teacher of the Year. "When they get fancy pencils, it becomes a 'that's mine' event.")
Pencil sharpener (hand held with a top to collect shavings)
Large pink eraser ("These good old ones do the best erasing," says Salvatico "The fancy ones look good but don't erase well.")
Box of crayons (16-pack for younger kids, more for older ones, says Salvatico. "Parents need to think how their child can organize and care for their supplies before buying them the mega box of things.")
Spiral bound or composition notebooks
Loose-leaf notebook paper
Note: Teachers can be picky about paper. Schools usually supply specially ruled handwriting paper to help younger children with letter formation. Older children use wide-ruled paper.
Box for storing supplies
Index cards, ruled and unruled (for making flash cards)
A sturdy, supportive backpack
Note: Some schools do not permit rolling backpacks because of space considerations, so check with your school before considering this option.
A ruler with English and metric measurements
4-oz. bottle of white glue
Scissors (blunt end for younger kids, pointy for older ones)
Water color paints
Computer printer paper
Printer ink cartridges
Bottle of hand sanitizer
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.
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:
Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you more
insights to help you help your child succeed.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to complete your registration.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to submit your review.
Please click on the link in the verification email we just sent you to complete your change of email address.
Whoops! It looks like we still need to verify your email. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the e-mail? Click the button below and we'll send you a new one.
Thanks for registering. Welcome to GreatSchools, the largest online community committed to improving educational outcomes through parental involvement.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! You haven't verified your email address yet. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the email? Click the button below to receive a new one.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
For principals and school officials, we offer a special Enhanced School Profile (ESP) which allows you to update and add information about your school, as well as respond to reviews. If you are a school official, click Continue to start.
Please note that it can take up to 48 hours for your comment to be posted to our site. While you're here, we'd like to invite you to fill out a survey on your school's programs, activities, and extracurriculars. It only takes a few minutes and will help parents get a full picture of your school.
Get started now! You have successfully registered and can now start updating your Official School Profile. The information you provide is extremely valuable in helping parents and students learn more about your school, so thanks for taking the time!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for , including performance data and recently posted user reviews.