Making M's is Magnificent!


Emergent Literacy

By: Kacey Albright


Rationale: My goal is for students to automatically recognize both the letter m and the phoneme that accompanies this letter. The reason that this is so important is so that students can become more fluent readers as they recognize one phoneme at a time. In this lesson, this goal is met by aiming to teach kindergarteners how to detect the phoneme /m/ in spoken words through many different exercises. Students learn to recognize /m/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (rubbing my tummy and saying , "mmm mmm good!") and by learning to write the letter symbol m both in the uppercase and lowercase. The students will also practice finding /m/ in different words, and they will apply and use phoneme awareness with /m/ in phonemic cue reading.



Primary paper and pencil for each student

Poster with tongue twister: "Miss Mouse Munches on Marvelous Meatballs"

Crayons and paper

Dry erase board with markers for writing

Cards with the following pictures on them: mushroom & tree; nickel & dime; Run & game; Movie & show

Marcus and the Mail by: Joanne Meier

Index cards with rhyming words on them: moon or soon; cap or nap; feet or meet; make or take.

Assessment worksheet

Index cards with the following words written on them: man, moon, map, meet, and make.



1. Say: "Learning language can be a tricky thing to do, but today we are going to just focus on one letter. That letter is "m". I am going to show you what words have the /m/ sound in them as well as how our mouth moves when we say /m/. Our sound for /m/ is represented with the letter m (Write this on the board). M is the sound we make when we run our tummies." Show picture: Bring in a picture to show the students.


2. "Let's go ahead and pretend we just ate something really good, like a cookie! Now rub your tummy and say, "mmm mmm good." Do you hear the /m/ sound as you are doing this? Notice how our lips come together as we make the /m/ sound. Can you show me how your lips come together when you make this sound?"



3. "Let me show you how I'd check for the /m/ sound in the word moon. Now remember, we are looking for the "mmm" sound that we made as we rubbed our tummies after a delicious snack. You say the worm moon. Do you hear the /m/ sound? Where do you hear that sound, at the beginning of the word or at the end of the word?" Go through this same process with the words:  milk, mango, mustard, and apple. (I threw apple in there just to make sure that the students understand the /m/ sound. I don't want them to think that every type of food starts with /m/ even though 3 of the 4 words I have them do start with m).


4. "Now let's all try a tongue twister with the letter m. Take a look at our poster and repeat this after me: "Miss Mouse Munches on Marevelous Meatballs." Let's all say it three more times so that we can all become very familiar with it." The last time say it with extra emphasis on the /m/ sound in each word. Break the /m/ sound off of each word so that the children notice it more clearly (example-/m/ouse).



5. Next, pass out primary papers and pencils to each child. Then, model how to write the letter m, both the uppercase and lowercase on the dry erase board marked with lines. Say: "Capital M's look almost like a zig zag line except that you stop at the dotted lines for two middle lines in the letter. Look up here, and I will show you. For the lowercase m, take your pencil and start at the fence. Go all the way down to the sidewalk, and come back up to the fence, making a hump as you bring your pencil back down to the sidewalk. Do the same thing, come back up to the fence and make another hump and go straight back down to the sidewalk. I will walk around, and once I have marked on your paper, I want you to make nine more m's on your paper."


5. "Now we are going to do some more practice! I am going to show you some pictures that contain two objects on them, and I want you to raise your hand and tell me that name of the object that has the sound /m/ in it. Okay, are you ready? Let's get started!" Show the students each picture card one at a time and ask them questions. "Do you hear /m/ in mushroom or in tree? In nickel or dime? Run or game? Movie or toy?" Then, take the lesson one step further and ask students other questions to help them apply it in another way. Say: "Whenever you hear the /m/ sound in any of the words I say, I want you to rub your tummy to signal the "mmm mmm" that we hear when we say /m/. Okay here we go: man, cat, match, bug, game, home, grog, and make.



6. Say: "Let's look at the book, Marcus and the Mail." This book is written by Joanne Meier, and it features several words that have the /m/ sound to help reinforce this phoneme. Say: "One day Marcus receives a book in the mail about the moon. He reads this book with his mother. What do you think he is going to learn?" After you read this book, ask the students what words they heard that had the /m/ sound. Then, tell them to go back to their desk and draw out the events that took place in the book (if you do not have time leave this part out of the lesson). They may color these as well. Display their work in the classroom.


7. Lastly, guide the students in an exercise to help them distinguish between rhyming words that have /m/ in them. Write the word man on the board, then model how to know if the word is man or can. Say: "The m tells me to rub my tummy –"mmm mmm good." I know that the word is man because it has the /m/ sound and can doesn't. You try a few! Have the following words written on the board: MOON, MAP, MEET, and MAKE. Then, have two words written on index cards, and ask the following questions: Is this moon or soon? (MOON) Cap or map? (MAP) Feet or meet? (MEET) Make or take? (MAKE)



Assess the students by passing out a worksheet (found on the link below). On this worksheet, the students must draw a line to the objects that begin with the letter m. Call each student up the your desk to individually quiz him or her on the assessment in number 8 as well as have them repeat the name of each object on their worksheet, making sure that they are saying the /m/ sound very clearly.


Resources and URL's


Meier, Joanne. Marcus and the Mail: The sound of M. New York. Child's World Publisher, 2004.


Tongue Twisters:

Cox, Tanya. "Mrs. Cox's Kindergarten class"



DLTK's sites: Kidzone Fun Facts for kids. "Beginning Consonant Sounds"



Index to Doorways