By GreatSchools Staff
What’s the smart way to shop for school supplies? Eliminate the guesswork by getting a list from your child’s teacher ahead of time or waiting until school starts to find out what’s actually required. The teacher may recommend specific brands, sizes, or quantities, but even if the list isn’t available, you can still take advantage of back-to-school sales (many states offer “tax-free days” during this season) by sticking to the basics recommended below. And remember, you can’t go wrong with tools that help kids get — and stay — organized.
When it comes to writing essentials, teachers say, don't waste your money on feather pencils, light-up pencil sharpeners, or pretty erasers that don't work. And for organizational helpers, keep in mind that expensive folders with multiple pockets and zippers are often too bulky to fit in desks. Better to stick with more streamlined (and cheaper) models.
Glue sticks (at least three for the year)
Scissors (blunt ended for younger kids, pointed for older ones)
No. 2 pencils (Stick with this classic to avoid classroom competition over whose writing utensil is the coolest — or most impractical.)
A pencil sharpener (hand-held with a top to collect shavings)
A large pink eraser (The old-fashioned ones do the best erasing.)
A four-ounce bottle of white glue
Highlighters (These are probably unnecessary for kids in kindergarten through second grade.)
Spiral-bound or composition notebooks
A three-ring binder
Loose-leaf notebook paper (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, and some middle school students will need the college-ruled variety.)
Pocket folders (If you get a folder with two pockets, label one "keep at home" and the other "bring to school" to help your child organize his papers.)
Printer paper and ink cartridges (for your home computer)
A ruler with English and metric measurements
A sturdy, supportive backpack (Some schools do not permit rolling backpacks because of space considerations, so check with your school before purchasing one.)
A box of crayons (Get a 16-pack for younger kids, more for older ones.)
A box for storing items (Teachers recommend one that's eight inches long by five inches wide by two inches deep to hold pencils, crayons, erasers, and scissors.)
A calendar for scheduling assignments
Two combination locks (If the school lockers do not have built-in locks, your child might need one for the hallway and one for the gym.)
Binder dividers (The kinds with pockets are good for loose papers.)
Several three-ring binders (Some teachers require that a binder be used exclusively for their class.)
Folders that fit in binders
A small notebook to record assignments
A pencil case that fits in binders
Red-ink pens (Some teachers have students do peer editing.)
Index cards, ruled and unruled (These are great for making flash cards.)
A calculator (Check with the math teacher first before investing in an expensive calculator. Graphing calculators, for example, are required in some middle school math classes. Teachers advise parents not to buy a calculator with more functions than your students will use.)
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.