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Lesson 29: A Long Time Ago


Anna and Marsha have a lot of work to do. An advertisement makes them remember their childhood dreams. What do you think they wanted to be?


In this video, learn to say the new words for this lesson. You can also learn about how to use adjectives.


Use this video to learn about the noises English speakers make to show they are listening.


Anna: Hello! In Washington, D.C., there are many places that bring history to life. But people who live here often do not have time to see them. They are too busy with work -- like me. Hi, Marsha!
Marsha: Hi, Anna! Have a seat.
Anna: Thanks. This was a good idea. Working outdoors is nice.
Marsha: Um-hum, it is.
Anna: I am tired. Today was a busy day at work. And I still have work to do!
Marsha: Hmm, that’s too bad.
Anna: How are you these days?
Marsha: I'm really busy too, Anna. Let’s get to work.
Anna: Marsha, look! That bus has a photo of Abraham Lincoln!
Marsha: That’s an advertisement for Ford’s Theatre. They have a new show.
Anna: They have shows where Abraham Lincoln died?
Marsha: Yeah, it’s a working theater and a museum.
Anna: I love Lincoln. You know, Marsha, that advertisement reminds me of something.
Marsha: Um-hum. What’s that?
Anna: When I was a little girl … When I was a little girl … I was not like other children.
Marsha: Um-hum, I can believe that.
Anna's voice: I was tall, serious child. At the playground the other children played silly games. They played with dart guns. They played on the swings, the slide and the teeter-totter. They also played ball But not me. I loved to read serious books about U.S. presidents.
Anna: In fact, I wanted to be … don’t laugh … President of the United States.
Marsha: (laughs)
Anna: Stop! I know it’s a silly childhood dream.
Marsha: I’m sorry. It’s not silly. Guess what I wanted to be?
Anna: What?
Marsha: I wanted to be... an astronaut.
Anna: Really?
Marsha's Voice: When I was a kid, I studied the stars and planets. I wanted to fly into outer space!
Anna: You know, Marsha, childhood dreams are really important.
Marsha: They are. And it’s good to remember them.
Anna: Hey! I have an idea. Let’s go.
Marsha: Go where?
Anna: Let’s go make our childhood dreams come true.
Marsha: We’re going to the Air & Space Museum! Yes!
Anna: No. We’re going to see a show at Ford’s Theatre just like Abraham Lincoln! It’s not far from here.
Marsha: Uh huh. That is your childhood dream.
Anna: Good point. Okay, next week, we'll come here and be astronauts.
Marsha: Honestly?
Anna: Honestly.
Anna: Tonight we are seeing a show at Ford’s Theatre, where a man shot President Abraham Lincoln. This is history come to life … and a childhood dream come true! Until next time ...


In this lesson you learn about Anna and Marsha's childhood dreams. What was your childhood dream? What did you want to be? Write to us by email or in the Comments section.

Click on the image below to download the Activity Sheet and practice using adjectives and talking about your career dreams with a friend.

Activity Sheet - Lesson 29

Activity Sheet - Lesson 29

Learning Strategy

Learning Strategies are the thoughts and actions that help make learning easier or more effective.

The learning strategy for this lesson is Personalize. When we connect new information to our own interests and experiences, we are personalizing. Personalizing can help us remember new information.

In this week's video, Anna is learning about historic places in Washington, D.C. The advertisement for Ford's Theatre makes her think of her childhood dream - to be President of the United States. Anna is personalizing because she is connecting new information to her own interest in U.S. Presidents. She decides to act on her interests by going to the theater and learning more about Abraham Lincoln's history.

How about you? Do you ever personalize when you are learning English? Write to us about it in the Comments section or send us an email. Teachers, see the Lesson Plan for more details on teaching this strategy.


​Listen to short videos and test your listening skills with this quiz.


New Words

advertisement (ad) - n. something (such as a short film or a written notice) that is shown or presented to the public to help sell a product or to make an announcement
astronaut - n. a person who travels in a spacecraft into outer space
ball - n. a usually round object that is used in a game or sport or as a toy
believe - accept or regard (something) as true
childhood - n.the period of time when a person is a child
come true - expression. to materialize, to become a reality, or become fulfilled
dart gun - n. a small toy weapon that throws out small objects with a sharp point at one end
die - v. to stop living
dream - n. something that you have wanted very much to do, be, or have for a long time
Ford’s Theatre - n. Ford's Theatre is a historic theatre in Washington, D.C., used for various stage performances beginning in the 1860s. It is also the site of the shooting of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865.
planet - n. a large, round object in space (such as the Earth) that travels around a star (such as the sun)
really - adj. without question or doubt—used to make a statement more definite or forceful
serious - adj. thoughtful or quiet in appearance or manner
shoot - v. - to fire a weapon such as a gun (the past tense is shot)
slide - n.a structure with a slippery surface that children slide down
star - n.any one of the objects in space that are made of burning gas and that look like points of light in the night sky
swing - n. a seat that hangs from ropes or chains and that moves back and forth
teeter-totter - n. a long, flat board that is balanced in the middle so that when one end goes up the other end goes down
tired - adj. feeling a need to rest or sleep
true - adj. agreeing with the facts or not false
um–hum / uh-huh - interjection — used to express affirmation, agreement, comprehension, or interest
working - adj. doing work or in operation


Free Materials

Word Book

Word Book

Download the VOA Learning English Word Book for a dictionary of the words we use on this website.

Each Let's Learn English lesson has an Activity Sheet for extra practice on your own or in the classroom. In this lesson, you can use it to practice using adjectives and talking about your career goals with a friend.

For Teachers

Lesson 29 Lesson Plan

Lesson 29 Lesson Plan

See the Lesson Plan for this lesson for ideas and more teaching resources. Send us an email if you have comments on this course or questions.

Grammar focus: Review simple past and irregular past tense verbs; Using adjectives with correct adjective placement; Infinitives: to read, to be; to work

Topics: Describing physical states & emotions;

Learning Strategy: Personalize

Speaking & Pronunciation Focus: Using adjectives; Back-channeling noises: Um-Hum, Uh-Huh


Now it's your turn. Send us an email or write to us in the Comments section below or on our Facebook page to let us know what you think of this lesson.

Let's Learn English is a new course for English learners. Certified American English teachers designed the course for beginners. The course continues for 52 weeks.

Each week, there will be a new lesson with video showing the lives of young Americans. The lesson includes instruction in speaking, vocabulary and writing.

There are also printable worksheets, assessments and lesson plans for individual learners and English teachers. We encourage you to follow the weekly lessons and share your progress with us through comments and email.

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