All Aboard, Abe! Lesson Plan

Academic Standards


Reading Objective:

Children will discuss how Abraham Lincoln traveled to the White House when he became president.


Social Studies Focus:

Presidents' Day


ELA Skills:

key details, writing, vocabulary, main idea


Page 4 Skill:

key details



journey, modern, speeches



RI.2.1, RI.2.2, RI.2.4, RI.2.10, SL.2.3


Guided Reading Level: M


Lexile Level: 540L

Provide students with some background on Abraham Lincoln.

Build background knowledge (10 min.)

Watch our video “The Life of Abraham Lincoln.” After children have finished watching the video, discuss the following questions:

  • Did Abe live in a fancy house growing up? (No; he lived in a log cabin with one room.)
  • How did Abe read at night without electric lights? (by candlelight)
  • What job did Abe have before he was president? (He was a lawyer.)

Preview vocabulary (3 min.)

Next, play the online vocabulary slideshow. This issue’s featured words are journey, modern, and speeches.

Set a purpose for reading (5 min.)

  • Pass out the issue, and discuss the cover. Remind students that today, people can see the president on TV or online. But in Lincoln’s time, there were no TVs or computers!
  • Next, read the As You Read prompt on on page 2: “Think about the reasons people were excited to see Abe and the train.” Encourage children to think about this prompt as they read.

Read together (20 min.)

Pass out the Read and Think printable. Use it to check comprehension as you read the issue together, pausing to ask the questions. 

Assessment: Reading Checkpoint (15 min.)

Pass out the Reading Checkpoint to review key concepts from the issue and assess students’ proficiency on key nonfiction reading skills.

  • In this game, Lincoln’s train comes farther down the track each time students answer a question correctly. All aboard!

You can use our printable worksheets to focus on important social studies and ELA skills. Here’s how.

ELA Focus: Vocabulary (15 min.)

  • Use the Word Work printable to deepen students’ understanding of the words journey, modern, and speech.

Editor’s Pick: Read a Timeline (15 min.)

  • The Abe Lincoln Timeline skill sheet is a great way for students to practice social studies skills. It’s also designed in an interactive way—students must cut and paste facts to create the timeline before they can read it.

ELA Focus: Main Idea (15 min.)

  • This skill sheet helps children home in on the main idea of the whole article and of each section. They can use their issues for reference as they fill in the graphic organizer.

 Here are two past issues you can use to extend your lesson on Presidents' Day:

  • Lincoln’s Beard, February 2019. This issue tells the story of Grace Bedell, the little girl who convinced Lincoln to grow his famous whiskers!
  • George’s Secret Trip, February 2020. This issue tells the exciting true story of Washington’s trip across the Delaware.

You can find a higher-Lexile-level and a lower-Lexile-level version of the article online here:

  • Higher-Lexile level: 620L
  • Lower-Lexile level: 490L