Which is better - to have a plain or personalised exercise book?

Exercise books have been a staple of classrooms across the world for most of the century, and over all that time, the vast majority of them have been plain exercise books. However, in the last few decades, the advances in printing technology means that it’s now possible to create personalised exercise books tailored to much more specific parameters. That naturally gives rise to the now-ubiquitous question for teachers and educational professionals, namely: should I order plain or personalised exercise books for my school?

Which is better - to have a plain or personalised exercise book?

If you ask us, personalised exercise books are the best option for your own class, without a shadow of a doubt. We’re in a pretty good position to answer this question here at EPSL, given that we stock both personalised and non-personalised exercise books ourselves. Our plain exercise books are useful if you’re on a tight deadline, given their slightly faster turnaround, and they can sometimes be a more cost-effective option with smaller orders. However, our personalised exercise books have an even greater range of advantages that make life easier for students, parents and teachers alike. Here are some of the most pivotal!

They help to enhance your students’ learning

One of the most useful aspects of a personalised exercise book is that it opens up a whole new range of opportunities to help further your students’ progress towards specific learning objectives. If you find that your class as a whole is struggling with certain grammar rules for example, you can dedicate the inside front cover to the most critical rules, or those they find the most difficult.

Similarly, if they’re encountering difficulty with certain spellings in English, or common formulas in Maths, these pages can serve as handy ‘cheat-sheets’ for them to consult, helping them to quickly and easily grasp the basics, and potentially saving them a lot of confusion and frustration. It also empowers them to clearly track their own progression towards achieving these objectives, giving them more agency and confidence to tackle increasingly more complex topics.

Books can be finely customised to suit individual subjects

Both types of exercise books allow you to choose from a range of layouts, so that you can select the one that’s best suited to the content of your lesson. For purely writing subjects like English, you may only need simple lined paper, just the same as you’d only need graph paper for topics like Maths. However, you can also choose blank pages for subjects like Art, or a mix of spaces and lines for largely academic topics that may still require the use of illustrations, like physics or chemistry.

But while both types of books offer you this choice, blank exercise books offer only a relatively small selection of pre-determined layouts, whereas personalised books have an wider range of options, giving you even greater freedom to pick out the one that best suits your subjects.

school handwriting book

Customisation can make it easier for pupils who need additional support

Personalised textbooks can also be immeasurably useful for helping to include pupils who may require additional support, such as those with special educational needs or disabilities. Exercise books can be customised to better suit their own individual abilities and methods of self-expression.

Even something as simple as greater spacing between the lines can help give them more wiggle room to perfect their handwriting, while space for pictures in otherwise academic subjects can give them an alternate avenue of self-expression if they’re struggling to communicate their meaning to a teacher or support worker. This can be invaluable for helping you or your colleagues to better understand exactly what sort of support you need to provide - whether that’s with spelling, grammar, word choice, and so on.

Personalised exercise books can help strengthen communication

This is perhaps one of the most frequently underestimated benefits of personalised exercise books, but equally one of the most important. For children to get the maximum benefit from their education, there needs to be mutual understanding and clear communication between all three parties: the parents, the teacher, and the child themselves. Essentially, parents and teachers need to be able to understand each other, so that they can then provide clear and consistent support to the student.

Personalised exercise books can be an invaluable tool in furthering this kind of mutual understanding. For example, they can contain details of the school’s marking policy, so that parents can better understand the criteria their child is being marked by, and support them accordingly at home. That can ultimately have the effect of making marking easier and more efficient for you, while remaining easier for parents and students to understand. Similarly, bespoke page layouts can also be used as a medium for parents to provide direct feedback to schools, so that you can promptly and efficiently deal with any misunderstandings or ambiguities.

Promote a greater sense of unity, identity, and pride

With numerous options to customise your personalised exercise books with your school crest, motto and / or values, they can provide a fantastic opportunity to reinforce your school’s distinct identity, and the sorts of behaviours and attitudes you’d like to promote amongst your students. You might choose a particular focus on inclusivity for example, or hard work, or co-operation. Those are just a few examples - we’ll leave the specifics up to you!

Promoting this sense of commonality is more than just about your ‘brand’ as a school, though - it’s also hugely important for each student on an individual level. Pupils who are proud of their school and their environment tend to be more motivated, work harder, and benefit from greater attainment. As well as this collective pride, personalised exercise books also encourage a sense of individual pride too - fostering a sense of personal accountability and ownership from a student in the quality of their work, which again motivates them to work harder for better results.

This isn’t a comprehensive list of these advantages by any means - we’ve covered all the key ones here, but we’re sure you can find one or two of your own! And if you’d like to start enjoying these benefits for your own school, you’re in exactly the right place. We provide a fantastic range of lined exercise books, plain express exercise books and personalised exercise books, and with more than 40 years of experience behind us, we’re top of the class when it comes to producing resources and learning solutions for schools. If you’ve got any questions, you can count on us to provide answers in as much or as little detail as you need. Feel free to give us a call on 01254 686 500!

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