School Supply Time Again

Child with new school supplies
Ah, the delicious smell of crayons and new wooden pencils!

As you head off to the store with this year’s list of school supplies, it is well to help your child choose materials that will promote learning and not distract from it. It would also be well to encourage your child to take care of these materials.

Yes, children do break and lose things, but responsible children do their best not to. They certainly don’t need to think that the behavior exhibited in this Staples ad is normal and acceptable.

Today’s offerings of notebooks and pencils are certainly more varied than when I was a child. Many are pleasant and cheerful, but some, not so much.

Inappropriate design on notebook
Hardly an image to contemplate while engaged in learning basic skills.

At the risk of being accused of thwarting individuality, I suggest that parents exercise some judgment when it comes to styles or designs certain to distract from learning. For example, avoid pencils or pens with feathers or other cutesy add-ons, notebooks decorated with questionable motifs, and any items that make excessive noise in use.

Teachers will have individual preferences when it comes to notebooks and the handling of homework assignments. My own preference as an English teacher is for sewn or stapled notebooks rather than loose-leaf paper. Although in these days of pushing computer-based assignments further and further down in the grades, perhaps lined paper will soon be a thing of the past in any form.

The philosophy animating this website, however, is very much grounded in the concept of a written literacy that includes the ability to write legibly with one’s own hand.

For a discussion of notebooks, see Choosing a notebook for classwork.



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