School supplies

10 back to school basics

Whether you’re a parent or a student, fall can be the most significant time of the year. Going back to school brings anticipation, excitement, sometimes dread and a flurry of activity for families with school-age kids. Here are 10 essential items students will need to get the party started!


Loose-leaf paper

Filler paper with holes for the binder will no doubt be the student’s most-used item, so don’t be afraid to buy a sizable package. Check the lines, however; paper comes in wide, narrow and college-ruled styles designed for different ages and grade levels. Check the teacher’s instructions to see which paper is right for your child.



Binders are designed to hold everything together. They come in a variety of sizes and styles with an array of features. Make sure your child’s teacher does not disapprove of a specific type of binder. The classroom may require dividers or other inserts depending on the grade level of your student.


Twin-pocket folders are a must for every student. They will need several to accommodate different subjects. Folders are made of plastic or paper; they come plain or with every imaginable design. Some come pre-punched with holes to be inserted into the binder.



Many school activities require a No. 2 pencil. The older student may enjoy using mechanical pencils; buy in bulk or plan on getting refill lead for those. Either type of pencil should have a sturdy eraser. An extra-solid eraser may be a good idea, especially for the student just starting to master the task of writing.



Once your student has graduated to ink, pens will be a basic school purchase. With a veritable sea of types and styles to choose from, remember these basics: The fancier the pen, the higher the price. Look for a comfortable grip and a smooth writing tip. Many students start out with erasable pens.


colored pencils

Don’t forget your child’s inner artist. Depending on age and grade level, crayons, markers and colored pencils are a staple on the school supply list. Some teachers ask for their students to supply dry-erase markers as well, for writing on the board. Package sizes and colors for these will vary tremendously; check your child’s individual classroom needs.



Every child needs their own pair of cutters. For the younger student, rounded edges provide safe and easy handling.



Twelve-inch rulers help keep your child drawing straight lines. They come in wood, metal and plastic, in a variety of colors. Some are hole-punched to hang in the binder.


Hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial wipes

Keeping hands and surfaces clean and germ-free is vital during the school year. Most teachers need and appreciate parental help supplying enough sanitizer and wipes to keep a healthy environment during cold and flu season.



The most important item for school may well be the backpack to put it all in. Your child will thoroughly enjoy picking out this essential school supply. Backpacks are functional and fun. In addition to style, make sure you choose one that is sturdy and well made to avoid re-purchase during the school year.

More back-to-school tips

Don’t stress about school
Back to school to-dos
Budget tips for back-to-school


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Comments on "10 Back-to-school items every student needs"

Victoria August 21, 2012 | 11:45 AM

A good backpack is really the most important thing on this list. Especially if your kids are taking heavy classes or are in honors, they're going to be carrying around a lot of stuff, espeically on the first few days. Make sure the back packs they're using will help them haul their load without hurting their backs.

oiuguhjneu August 09, 2012 | 1:45 AM

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Kate August 02, 2012 | 4:18 PM

Love that hand sanitizer amd amti-backterial wipes were included in the list. Whenever my kids go back to school they always get sick! Maybe we can avoid that this year by sending them with these supplies.

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