Long Ago and Today
Level G

About the Book

Text Type: Fiction/Realistic
Page Count: 14
Word Count: 210

Book Summary
Long Ago and Today is about a young boy named Adam and his great grandma. Adam questions his great grandma about what it was like for her when she was his age. Many things were quite different for her, but one thing was the same: they were both lucky enough to be well loved.

About the Lesson

Targeted Reading Strategy

  • Retell


  • Use the reading strategy of retelling to understand the text
  • Compare and contrast characters' experiences
  • Segment phonemes in words
  • Read words with l-family blends
  • Understand the use of a question mark and period
  • Read high-frequency words you and me independently


  • Book -- Long Ago and Today (copy for each student)
  • Chalkboard or dry erase board
  • Compare and contrast, l-family blends worksheets
  • Word journals (optional)

Indicates an opportunity for student to mark in the book. (All activities may be completed with paper and pencil if books are reusable.)


  • High-frequency words: what, was, when, were, just, play, have, with, you, me
  • Content words: Great Grandma, young, listened, radio, airplane, train, video, games, board game, plastic, wooden, happy

Before Reading

Build Background

  • Ask students to share what they know about their grandparent or great-grandparent and discuss when those individuals were born. Ask how things may have been different for them when they were growing up.

Book Walk

Introduce the Book
  • Show students the front and back covers of the book and read the title with them. Ask what they might read about in a book called Long Ago and Today. (Accept any answers students can justify.)
  • Show students the title page. Discuss the information on the page (title of book, author's name, illustrator's name).
  • Point out the repetitive language used in the story, such as What was it like long ago? What was it like when you were young like me?

Introduce the Reading Strategy: Retell

  • Explain to students that one way to understand and remember what they are reading is to stop now and then during reading to retell in their mind what is happening in the story.
  • Explain to students that when someone retells something, they give the details of what happened in order. Point out that people retell stories as part of their daily lives, such as explaining what happened at a sports game. Ask students to share other examples of when people might give a retelling.
  • Model retelling a familiar story in detail, such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
    Think-aloud: In Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Goldilocks comes to a house in the forest that belongs to three bears: a mama bear, a papa bear, and a baby bear. The bears leave the house for a walk in the forest while their porridge is cooling. Goldilocks goes inside the house, even though no one is home. First, Goldilocks sees three bowls of porridge on the table. She tries each one. The first bowl is too hot, the second bowl is too cold, and the third bowl is just right, so she eats it all up. Next, she sees three chairs and sits in each one. The first chair is too hard, the second chair is too soft, and the third chair is just right. However, the chair breaks and Goldilocks falls to the ground.
  • Continue retelling in detail to the end of the story. Invite students to suggest information for the retelling of this story.
  • Have students place sticky notes on pages 5, 9, 11, and 14. Explain to them that as they read, they should stop on these pages to think about what has happened in the story. Encourage students to retell in their mind what happens in the story as they read.
  • As students read, encourage them to use other reading strategies in addition to the targeted strategy presented in this section. For tips on additional reading strategies, click here.
Introduce the Vocabulary
  • As you preview the book, reinforce the vocabulary words students will encounter in the text. For example, while looking at the picture on page 3, you might say: The boy is sitting at the table with his great grandma. The boy is young. The great grandma was young long ago.
  • Remind students that they can help themselves when they come to a tricky word by looking at the first letter in the word and checking the picture on the page to see what word might start with the same sound or what word might make sense. For example, on page 5, model pointing to the r in the word radio. Say: I am going to help myself by looking at the picture and thinking about what word starts like /r/ (make the /r/ sound). Invite students to share words that would make sense in the sentences. Then say: Does radio make sense? Yes, the word is radio.
  • Encourage students to add the new vocabulary words to their word journals.
  • For additional tips on teaching high-frequency words or word-attack strategies, click here.

Set the Purpose

  • Have students read to find out about what happens in the story. Remind them to stop reading at the end of each page with a sticky note to quickly retell in their mind what has happened so far in the story.

During Reading

Student Reading

  • Guide the reading: Give students their copy of the book. Have a volunteer point to the first word on page 3. Read the word together (Great). Point out where to begin reading on each page. Remind students to read words from left to right. Point to each word as you read it aloud while students follow along in their own book.
  • Ask students to place a finger on the page number in the bottom corner of the page. Have them read to the end of page 5, using their finger to point to each word as they read. Encourage students who finish before others to reread the text.
  • Ask students what has happened so far in the story. Model how you stopped to mentally retell the story.
  • Think-aloud: I stopped after a few pages to retell in my mind what I had read so far. First, the boy asks his great grandma what it was like long ago when she was young.
  • Have students read to the end of page 9. Ask them to retell the events of the story to a partner.
  • Have students read the remainder of the story. Remind them to pause after a few pages to think about what has happened in the story and to make sure they understand it.

Have students make a small question mark in their book beside any word they do not understand or cannot pronounce. These can be addressed in the discussion that follows.

After Reading

Reflect on the Reading Strategy

  • Ask students what words, if any, they marked in their book. Use this opportunity to model how to read these words using decoding strategies and context clues.
  • Retell in detail with students the events of the story from pages 10 and 11, using the pictures in the book as a guide.
  • Think-aloud: After the great grandma told her grandson that she played with board games, her grandson asked her if she played with plastic toys when she was young. She told him that she did not have plastic toys. She played with wooden toys when she was young.
  • Have volunteers retell the events to the end of the book, using the pictures in the book as a guide. Then have them retell the story to a partner, starting at the beginning. Listen for whether students include the following: correct events in detail, events in order, main characters.
  • Ask students how pausing to retell the story in their mind helped them remember what was happening in the story.
  • Discuss additional strategies students used to gain meaning from the book.

Teach the Comprehension Skill: Compare and contrast

  • Discussion: Ask students whether they do some of the same things that the boy in the story does.
  • Introduce and model the skill: Explain that one way to understand information in a book is to think about how the information is alike and different from each other. Tell students that when they read a book, they can compare and contrast the characters. This will help them understand the characters better. Tell them they can compare what the characters look like, what they say, and what they do. Make a large Venn diagram on the board and model how to compare and contrast the characters.
  • Think-aloud: One way these characters are alike is that they both had a grandma who loved them when they were young. I will write grandma who loves them in the overlapping circles. I read that the great grandma played with wooden toys when she was younger, but her grandson plays with plastic toys. This is one way they are different. I will write wooden toys for the great grandma and plastic toys for the boy in the separate circles.
  • Check for understanding: Ask students to identify another way that the characters are alike and another way that they are different.
  • Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have students complete the compare and contrast worksheet for Long Ago and Today. If time allows, discuss their answers.

Extend the discussion: Invite students to create their own Venn diagram on the back of their worksheet comparing their own life with one of their grandparents, great-grandparents, or those of a friend they know.

Build Skills

Phonological Awareness: Segment phonemes

  • Say the word long, stretching the sounds in the word. Tell students that there are three sounds in the word long. Say the word again, emphasizing each sound in the word (/l/ /o/ /ng/).
  • Have students listen as you say the word train, stretching the sounds in the word. Have them repeat the word and tell the number of sounds in the word (4).
  • Say the following words to students: fly, games, toys. Pause after saying each word and have students identify the number of sounds in each word.

Phonics: L-family blends

  • Write the word fly on the board and read it with students. Underline the fl blend and explain that the sounds of these two letters are blended together to stand for the /fl/ sound. Point out that each individual sound in the blend can be heard. Have students blend the sounds of the letters together to say the fl blend. Tell students that the letters f and l are part of the l-family blends. Write the following l-family blends on the board: bl, cl, fl, gl, pl, sl. Have students say each blend with you. Under each blend, write a word that begins with that blend: black, clap, flip, glad, play, slug. Have students blend the sounds together in each word with you as you run your finger under the letters. Then have volunteers circle the blends in the words.
  • Have students point to words on page 11 with an l-family blend (plastic, played).
  • Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have students complete the l-family blends worksheet. If time allows, discuss their answers.

Grammar and Mechanics: Punctuation

  • Have students read the first sentence on page 3 with you. Remind students that sentences always begin with a capital letter. Ask students to put their finger on the capital letter at the beginning of the sentence.
  • Explain that a sentence like this one asks a question. Point out the question mark at the end of the sentence. Explain that a sentence that asks a question has a signal at the end that tells readers how to read it. Tell students that the signal is called a question mark.
  • Have students read the first sentence on page 5 with you. Ask students to tell how this sentence is different from the sentence they read on page 3. Explain that a sentence like this one tells information. Explain that a sentence that tells information has a signal at the end that tells readers how to read it. Review or explain to students that the signal is called a period.
  • Write the following sentences on the board, leaving off the end punctuation: Great Grandma loves the boy, did she play with plastic toys, does the boy play video games. Ask students what needs to be corrected in each sentence. Have volunteers make the corrections to the sentences.

Word Work: High-frequency words you and me

  • Tell students they are going to learn words that they need to be able to recognize and read quickly. Write the words you and me on the board and read the words aloud. Have students read the words with you.
  • Ask them to write the words you and me on the tabletop with their finger as you spell it aloud with them, pointing to each letter on the board as you say the letter name with students.
  • Ask a student to come to the front of the classroom. Walk across the room with the student. Say: You are walking with me. Write the sentence on the board.
  • Ask students to explain to whom the word You refers (the student). Ask them to explain to whom the word me refers (you).
  • Ask students to work with a partner to create oral sentences using the words you and me. Have them use individual dry-erase boards or paper to write their sentence using the words you and me. For students needing additional support, have them build each word using magnetic letters, trace the word with their pointer finger, and then write the word.

Build Fluency

Independent Reading

  • Allow students to read their book independently. Additionally, partners can take turns reading parts of the book to each other.

Home Connection

  • Give students their book to take home to read with parents, caregivers, siblings, or friends.

Extend the Reading 

Writing and Art Connection
Have students interview a family member to find out how life was similar to and different from his or her life while growing up. Have them create a poster to show the similarities and differences. Invite students to share their posters.

Social Studies Connection
Encourage students to talk to grandparents or great grandparents to see if they still have an early telephone, radio, or favorite game from when they were young. Invite them to be guest speakers and to bring their items in to share with the group.


Monitor students to determine if they can:

  • correctly retell the story
  • accurately complete a Venn diagram comparing Great Grandma and Adam in the story
  • accurately segment words into their individual sounds
  • correctly read and write l-family blend words
  • identify and use different kinds of end punctuation in sentences
  • correctly read and use high-frequency words you and me

Comprehension Checks

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