Back to School Supplies for Young Writers

by | Aug 28, 2023

Children sitting on a bench | Photo by Norma Mortenson

Autumn is nearly here, and kids are heading back to school. Today, I’m sharing an essential school supplies list for writing teachers and their students.

Of course, you can shop for many of these items online, though often it is fun to let kids pick out their own pencils and notebooks in person at the local bookstore or stationary store. That helps to get them excited about using these items when the school year starts.

Here is the Inkwell Scholars supplies list to make sure young writers are well-equipped for their writing adventures:

1. Journal

A journal is a wonderful way to encourage students to write on a consistent basis. They can use the journal to record what they did each day or fill it with their own fictional stories.

This is one item that I think kids should pick out for themselves. They might be happy with a simple spiral ring notebook or they might love one with a decorative cover or one that looks like an actual book.

I was obsessed with writing in journals as a kid, but I know that not all kids share the same passion. My free eBook 31 Best Writing Prompts is a great way to get kids into the habit of writing in their journal. (Subscribe to the email list to get your free copy).

Set aside time each week for journaling. Let kids select a prompt from the eBook and write their response in their journal. You could even join in on the fun. When students see adults completing the same exercise as them, they often have more enthusiasm. I love joining my writing students and writing a story for the prompt as well. 

Often, they are surprised because they have never seen a teacher joining in on an assignment. They’re excited that I am writing with them and eager to hear what I write and share their responses too.

2. Three ring binder

I always request that my writing students bring a three ring binder to class and their own lined paper. If they are older students, they will probably type up their final assignments. But they can write down their outlines and first drafts by hand. 

Also, if they receive any handouts in class, you can easily slip the papers into the three ring binder so that they don’t get lost in the student’s backpack.

Along with lined paper for the three ring binder, I also recommend a folder with three hole punch where they can keep additional handouts that don’t fit into the binder’s pockets.

3. Pencil and Pens

Obviously, students need pens and pencils to write. Again, I recommend letting students pick out at least one special pen or pencil. 

One of my writing students was thrilled with his mechanical pencils and loved to show me how they worked.

In the United States, No. 2 pencils are usually the required type of pencil for standardized tests.

You might want to purchase a separate pearl eraser because students can quickly wear down the erasers on their pencils. And get a hand held pencil sharpener too! 

4. Pencil Case

Kids can be notorious at losing their school supplies. I had a “lost and found” basket that was often filled with kids’ left behind pens and pencils.

So I definitely recommend a pencil case to keep all of their writing tools in one place. You could fill this with other school supplies like highlighters or sticky notes.

5. Dictionary & Thesaurus 

Nowadays we can easily search dictionaries and thesauruses online. But for very young writers, a physical dictionary and thesaurus are fantastic if you are trying to limit screen time. I recommend getting a dictionary and thesaurus written specifically for kids. Here are examples on Amazon of kid’s dictionaries and kid’s thesauruses.

These books are a great way for children to learn spelling and new words. 

6. Paper Hole Puncher & Electric Pencil Sharpener

These two items are really for teachers rather than for students. If you are a teacher in a school or homeschool, I highly recommend getting these for your classroom. The paper hole puncher is very helpful to make sure printed handouts can be put right into kids’ three ring binders. 

Of course, an electric pencil sharpener isn’t required. You can use a mechanical one or a hand held one. But I think my electric pencil sharpener was one of the highlights of my writing class. Kids would eagerly line up at the start of class to use it. 

On the Bookshelf: Inkwell Scholars Book Recommendation

A novel would make a great back-to-school gift for your young writer.

Basil of Baker Street by Eve Titus was a favorite read-aloud in my writing class for students ages 8 to 10. This book was the inspiration for the 1986 Disney film The Great Mouse Detective.

In Titus’s book, “Basil—the famous sleuth of mousedom—lives in the cellar of Sherlock Holmes’s house. A devoted admirer of the great detective, he has learned his craft by listening at the feet of Holmes himself. But will it be enough to help Basil solve his most baffling mystery yet?”

This is a fun read to introduce students to mystery stories. Encourage them to write a mystery story of their own in their new journal.

You can check out Basil of Bakerstreet here on archive for free or buy it on Amazon.

I’d love to hear if you have any other writing supplies to add to my list. God bless and happy reading and writing! 

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“Thanks to Nicole’s instruction, two of my reluctant writers have come to enjoy writing,
feeling more confident and eager to work on their assignments.” — Silveria Shultz