About the Source
Title: Ben’s Guide to the U.S. Government
Publication Date: 2018
Producer: Government Publishing Office (GPO)
Ben’s Guide to the U.S. Government is published by the GPO. The .gov top level domain indicates the site’s affiliation with the U.S. government and implies reliability of information. Additionally, the site has been named “A Great Website for Kids” by the American Library Association.
Ben’s Guide presents basic information about the U.S. Government for young audiences. It includes information about Citizenship, U.S. Symbols, and U.S. History. In addition to the “Learning Adventures” (informative content for young users), there are related links for users, American Library Association sponsored lesson plans, and infographics for educators.
The home page of the site is a colorful, inviting image of Benjamin Franklin on the streets of a reimagined Washington, D.C. There is a top level menu with smaller text aimed at adult users including the following menu options: GPO, About this Site, Legal, Feedback, Parents and Educators, Citizenship, and a search bar. Below this is a larger, graphic menu with the following links: Home, About Ben and GPO, Libraries, Learning Adventures, Glossary, and Games. The main body of the page features links to information geared to different users depending on age: Apprentice (4-8), Journeyperson (9-13), and Master (14+).
Apprentice learning adventures include short lessons on Branches of Government, How Laws are Made; Symbols, Songs, and Structures; Election Process, Historical Documents, Federal versus State Government, and Federally Recognized Tribes. The Journeyperson section includes the same links without the graphic links as well as links to lessons on Historical Documents. The Master lessons do not include Symbols, Songs and Structures.
The site is visually appealing, and includes useful content on the history and structure of the U.S. government. Educators and school aged children could use this site for instructional purposes and research. Very young users will not be able to read the information independently. Strong, engaging graphics are used throughout the site, but still most of the actual content is text based. Even the games require significant reading with no “read to me” features.