My Munching Mouth
Emergent Literacy
Rachel Williams

Rationale:  To learn to read and spell words, children need the alphabetic insight that letters stand for phonemes and spellings map out phonemes in spoken words.  Before children can match letters to phonemes, they have to recognize phonemes.  This lesson will help children recognize /m/.  The sound made after a bit of ice cream is /m/.  Students will learn to recognize /m/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation and a letter symbol, and then practice finding /m/ in words.

Materials:  Primary paper and pencil, chart with “My mouth is munching on marshmallows.”, a class set of cards with m on one side and ? on the other side, picture page for each student with milk, can, pencil, mat, mouth, sun, gum, bug, cat, pen, fire, and money, drawing paper and crayons, and The Animals of Farmer Jones.

1. When we write words, they can sometimes be tricky.  Letters stand for the way our mouths move when we say words.  Today we are going to work on the mouth move /m/.
2. Ask students:  Have you ever been eating something that tasted very good and said /m/?  That’s the mouth move we are going to be looking for in words.  Let’s pretend we are eating an ice cream cone on a hot day and say /m/.  /m/ that ice cream is yummy!
3. Look at the chart.  I want you to repeat the tongue twister after me.  “My mouth is munching on marshmallows.”  Let’s say it together 3 times (say tongue twister.).  Now let’s say it and stretch out the /m/ sound at the beginning of the words.  “Mmmy mmmouth is mmmunching on mmmarshmallows.”  Good!  Now try it again, and this time break it off the word:  “/M/ y /m/ outh is /m/ unching on /m/ arshmallows.  Nice job!
4. Now get out your pencils and paper.  We can use the letter m to spell /m/.  Let’s practice writing it.  Start at the middle of the road, draw down to the edge of the road, make the hump that touches the middle of the road then curve down to the edge of the road, and hump over again (model while telling students).  When I come put a star on your paper, please draw 10 more just like it.  When you see the letter m in a word, that is when you say /m/.
5. Call on students to answer:  Do you hear /m/ in yours or mineSwim or runCome or goMonkey or bird?  Let’s see if you can spot the mouth move /m/ in some words.  Show me m if you hear /m/ and the question mark if you don’t.  (Give words one at a time)- My, mouth, is, munching, on, marshmallows.
6. Read The Animals of Farmer Jones and discuss the story.  Read it again, but have children raise their hands when they hear the /m/ sound.  List those words on the board.  Have students draw a picture of something with the /m/ sound and write a message about it using invented spelling.  Display their work.
7. For assessment, distribute picture page and have children name each picture.  Have students to circle the pictures whose names have /m/.

Reference:  Murray, Dr. Bruce. 2001.  The Reading Genie Website.

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