Parent’s Guide




Identify – Download a chart of butterflies and insects native to Michigan. Go outside and see how many your child can find and identify. Visit a local butterfly house to identify different types of butterflies.

Observe– During your travels to the Great Lakes, look for Petoskey stones and share the science behind these beautiful prehistoric fossils that once lived over 350 million years ago. At home, have your child collect rocks found in the driveway. Give your child a magnifying glass to observe their features and try to identify the type of each rock.

Measure – Traverse City and Mackinaw City offer science sails to explore different topics in science. Your child will measure the clarity of water, look at plankton, and chart wind speed and air temperature. Visit a local pond or lake to collect and look at plankton under a microscope. Have your child read a thermometer to record the temperature each day and discuss the daily changes in temperature. Your child could create a wind sock to learn about wind direction.





We need to empower our students to see themselves as confident and proficient writers. Even our youngest students are expected to write narrative, opinion, and informational writing in Michigan classrooms by the end of the year. Why not help your child get a head start on these skills with the tips listed below for the different writing genres?

Narrative Writing
Ask your child to write about a special Michigan adventure . Encourage your child to include many details by using their senses in the writing. (What did they see, hear, smell, touch, and taste on their adventure?) Your child should write the events of their adventures in order. Your child could also include their reaction about the adventure.

Informational Writing
Ask your child to select a Michigan city to learn about. Call the local Chamber of Commerce to request brochures sent to your home. Ask your child to write about the information learned about the Michigan location. Be sure to teach your child how to have closure in his or her writing by writing a sentence that sums up the topic. Your child can draw a picture to match the writing or use photographs.

Opinion Writing
Ask your child to choose a Michigan city he or she would like to explore. Have your child state his or her opinion why they think your family should travel to this location. Your child will then need to provide a few reasons to support their opinion and a closing statement restating their opinion.


Other Ideas


Field Trips/Adventures– Take your child on short trips to new places, such as a biking trail, beach, zoo, museum, theatre, or a park. Bring along a video camera, cell phone, camera, or a Go Pro camera to create a live video journal or just take pictures and document the new experiences along the way. Be sure to talk about what you see along the way and what you will see when you arrive. Field trips increase student’s schema (or background knowledge) and build vocabulary skills. Students learn best when learning is hands-on and connected to their world.

MAP: Did you know you can check out admission passes to parks, muse-ums, etc. free of charge through a partnership with your local library and the Michigan Activity Pass (MAP)? To learn more, visit:


Tracy Foster:
(810) 845-4983

Shannon Cooper-Toma:
(989) 233-2745
E-mail:    [email protected]





Patterns– Your child can create different types of patterns out of their natural environment by using rocks, leaves, acorns, pinecones, etc.

Measurement– Cook the recipes throughout the book as a family activity to help teach your child about measurement and fractions. Have your child write his or her own favorite recipes to create a family recipe book as a special keepsake.

Counting (for younger students)- While visiting a local park, beach or other location, encourage your child to count different objects in their natural environment such as pine cones, rocks, leaves, etc. To extend the activity, have your child also write the number to match the number counted.

Telling Time– You can visit the Shinola Watch Factory to teach your child about time. At home, you can work on telling time on the different types of clocks found throughout your home. You can create your own clocks to practice telling time on.


Parent’s Guide


Parent's Guide Download_pdf

Download Parent’s Guide

Dear Families,

We believe children should be curious, inspired, and encouraged to DREAM BIG. As educators, we know books and travel can take children to magical places beyond their homes, classrooms, and communities. As you share Benson’s Adventures in Michigan, we hope your child understands that a world of Michigan travel adventures and opportunities awaits them and that they can make a difference by following their dreams.

We created this guide to provide parents with ideas on how to extend the learning opportunities in this book. If you have any questions or would like to share other ideas on how to extend the learning opportunities, please email us  [email protected].

Happy reading,
Tracy and Shannon





Storytime– Read with your child every day. Start by setting aside 10 minutes each day. Gradually increase the time to 30 minutes. Visit the library and local book stores together. Choose books that go along with the seasons or holidays. Read books about Michigan or subjects your child is interested in. Many book stores offer free author presentations for your children and have interactive children’s areas to explore, as well.

Make Words
Make magnetic letters available and play with them on a surface, such as the refrigerator or a cookie tray. Spell simple sight words for your child and have your child repeat them.

Help your child make cutouts of favorite storybook characters. Your child can use them to dramatize the story as you read and reread it.

Share what you read with your child. Read aloud a portion of the newspaper, magazine, or book you are reading. Talk about what you are reading and why reading interests you.

Benson’s Literacy Foundation

Visit Benson's Literacy Foundation website.Click Here