Mmmmm…Yummy in My Tummy!


Emergent Literacy Lesson Design 

by Abby Williams



In order for children to learn to read using the alphabetic principle, they must first become aware of the fact that phonemes make up words and that spellings record phonemes in written words. Therefore, children must develop the ability to match letters to phonemes. This lesson will help develop children’s phonemic awareness, helping them to identify and recognize the /m/ sound in spoken and written words. The sound that we make after eating something yummy is /m/. The students will learn /m/ through meaningful representation, tongue twisters, letter symbols, and finding the /m/ sound in various words.


Primary Paper, pencil, drawing paper, crayons

Chart with “Monday morning, Mr. Mouse and his mother munched on marshmallows.”

Cards with pictures of food items (some with /m/ in them and others without /m/ in them:

Milk, ham, muffin, mushroom, watermelon, ice cream, mustard, hamburger, almond, marshmallow, mango, chicken, apple, taco, banana, orange, turkey, cake, bread, soda)

Big poster of Mr. M’s Mouth


Book, I Met a Man, by John Ciardi

Picture page with pictures of mop, mask, umbrella, car, flower, moon, clock, drum, desk, monkey



1.) Begin the lesson by explaining to students that all of the letters of the alphabet have different sounds and that our mouths move differently when we say the different letters.

2.) Ask students: Have you ever eaten something that tasted really good? What sound do we make when something tastes yummy? That’s right! Mmmmm! Let’s all make the /m/ sound together. Great job! How does our mouth move when we say /m/? Our lips come together! Try it again and this time let’s all say the /m/ sound while rubbing our tummies like we re eating something yummy.

3.) Now let’s try a tongue twister with the /m/ sound. “Monday morning, Mr. Mouse and his mother munched on marshmallows.” Now let’s practice. Can everyone say that with me three times together? Now this time while we read the tongue twister, every time you hear the /m/ sound, try to stretch the /m/ sound and rub your tummy. (Mmmmmonday…..) Marvelous job!

4.) Now that we know what the letter m sounds like, lets take out a piece of primary paper and a pencil and practice writing the letter m. Follow along with me and follow my instructions. (Model on the board). Let me show you how to write a lower-case m. Start at the fence and move your pencil straight down to the sidewalk. Next, make a hump up to the fence and down the sidewalk and another hump up to the fence and down to the sidewalk. You can practice saying this as you write letter m. “Go down, hump around, hump around”. Now I want to see everyone’s m. If I come by and yours is correct, I want you to make 10 more just like it on the line below. (As students are practicing, walk around and give guidance to those who are struggling. When everyone is finished with their 10 letters, continue with the lesson).

5.) Now let me show you how to find the /m/ sound in the word game. I’m going to stretch game out really slow and listen for that ‘yummy mmmmm sound’. G-g-g-g-a-a-m-m. g-g-g-a-a-m-m-m… there it is! Mmmm! I can hear the /m/ sound in game. Can you hear it?

6.) I want you to listen for the /m/ sound as I read some more words. Do you hear /m/ in summer or spring? Mad or happy? Dime or nickel? Boy or man? Smart or silly? Swim or walk? Marvelous job!

7.) Now I’m going to pass out a card to each of you that has a picture on it (all food items). I want you to look at your card and decide if it has the /m/ sound in it. One at a time, I will have you come up and put your card either in Mr. M’s mouth (if it has the /m/ sound in it) or outside Mr. M’s Mouth if it does not have the /m/ sound in it… I’ll start. My card has a picture of a mustard bottle. I hear the /m/ sound in mustard so I’ll put it in Mr. M’s mouth. (Let each student come up and show their picture, tell what it is, and either place it in Mr. M’s Mouth or outside his mouth.

8.) Next, read the story, I Met a Man, and after reading though it once, talk about the characters, plot, etc. Next explain to students that I am going to read it a second time, and this time they must listen for words that have the /m/ sound in them. Each time they hear the /m/ sound they must rub their tummies. We will write all of the words they come up with on the board. They can then write a brief message about the story using invented spelling and illustrate their message as well.

9.) Assessment: To make sure that each child has learned the /m/ sound, give them a sheet with pictures on it and have the students circle the picture that has the /m/ sound in it. They may also color the pictures with the /m/ sound.



Ciardi, John. I Met a Man. Houghton Mifflin, 1961. 

Eldridge, J Lloyd (2005). Teaching Decoding: Why and How. Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. 60-82

Erd, Jackie. “My Mom’s Muffins! (Mmm, Mmm, Good!)” . 2004.

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