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Best things: Top tools for school
John Ramps stands in his store, The Teaching Nook. - photo by Photo by Jen Alexander McCall
With school starting next week, parents and teachers are already gearing up to help their kids make the most of the year. John Ramps, owner of educational supply store The Teaching Nook in Allenhurst, gave his top five educational tools for helping students succeed in the classroom.

1. “My most popular items are the workbooks,” Ramps said.  Ramps carries supplemental workbooks from the same publishers that provide textbooks to local school districts so the material is in line with what students are learning in class. The workbooks cover everything from pre-algebra to middle and high school French.

2. Designer pencils. The flashy designs catch kids’ attention and brighten up a dull test day. “These are all No. 2 pencils and all made in the U.S.,” he said.

3. Educational games that teach everything from the alphabet to parts of speech—all are a favorite with young students—and DVDs that teach letters, numbers and sight words to kids ages 9 months to 5 years old.

4. Toddler-safe learning blocks shaped like letters and numbers that are big enough to hold and too big to be swallowed.

5. Trifold foam project boards in assorted colors and writing tablets for students to practice their letters and handwriting.

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