Mmmm, Mac & Cheese!

By: Davis Brooks
Emergent Literacy

Rationale: To learn to read and spell words, children need the alphabetic insight that letters stand for phonemes and spelling map out the phonemes in spoken words.  Before children can match letters to phonemes, they have to recognize phonemes.  This lesson will help children identify /m/, the sound made after eating your favorite food, which for me is Mac & Cheese.  The student will learn to recognize /m/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation and a letter symbol, and then practice finding /m/ words.

Materials: Primary paper and pencil; chart with "My mother makes magnificent Mac & Cheese!"; class set of cards with the letter m  on one side  and a ? on the other side; drawing paper and crayons; picture page with house, cat, man, drum, bus, cap, moon, sun, chair, milk; praise stickers; Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss (Publishing company: Random House: 1998).

1. Letters stand for the way our mouth moves when we say words.  Today we are going to work on the mouth movement /m/.
2. Ask student: When you eat your favorite food, do you ever say, "Mmmm, Mmmm"?  That is the mouth movement we are going to look for in words.  When you say /m/, you press your lips together.  I will show you how to spot /m/ in words.  I will stretch out a word, and you tell me if I press my lips together. Mmm-aa-tt.  Correct, the /m/ is at the beginning of the word
3. Let's try a tongue twister. "My mother makes magnificent Mac & Cheese!"  Everybody say it together.  Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /m/ at the beginning of he words.  "Mmmy mmmother mmmakes mmmagnificent Mmmac & Cheese!"  Nice Work.
4. [Have students take out primary paper and pencils.] "We use the letter m to spell /m/.  Let's write it.  Start at the fence and go straight down to the sidewalk.  Without lifting your pencil, go back to fence and make one hump, then a second hump.  [Model each instruction given.] You have now completed drawing the letter m.  I want to see everybody's m.  After I put a sticker on it, I want you to make five more just like it.  When you see the letter m all by itself in a word, that's the signal to say /m/, like in "Mmm  Mac & Cheese!"
5. I am going to give everyone a card with m on one side and a ? on the other side.  I am going to say some words.  If you hear the /m/ sound hold up the m.  If you don't hear the m sound hold up the ?.  gum or candy?  mom or dad?  gorilla or monkey?
6. Read Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham and talk about the story.  Read it again, and have students raise their hands when they hear words with /m/.  [Explain to the students that the /m/ sound might not come at the beginning of the words.]  List their words on the board. Then have students draw pictures of their favorite foods and write a message about it using invented spelling.
7. For assessment, give each student a picture page.  Help students name each picture and then have them write the letter m with his or her crayon next to the pictures whose names have /m/ and have the students put an X over the pictures whose names doesn't have /m/.

Murray, Dr. Bruce. 2001.  The Reading Genie Website.  < >

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