Julie Kinsey


Emergent Literacy


Rationale: In order for children to learn how to read by using the alphabetic principle, they must first be aware of and familiar with phonemes that make up the words.  This lesson will focuses on the consonant sound /m/ in spoken words.  The student’s phoneme awareness of /m/ will develop by giving them instruction and practice on how to form the /m/ sound and practice by identifying the phoneme in spoken words.


                  Primary paper and pencil for each student

                  A set of picture cards for each student, of different foods that contain /m/ (macaroni, mint, muffins, hamburgers, shrimp)

                  A set of pictures of the same food for the teacher to hold up

                  A picture page for each student to identify words that contain /m/

                  The book: Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon to read to the class.


Procedure:  1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that our language is a secret code and today we are going to start breaking the code.  We use our mouth to make different sound for each letter. Today we are going to use our mouths to make the sound of the letter m, and we will be able to recognize the words that have the m mouth move in them.

2. Ask the students: “Have you ever said ‘mmmmm’ after you ate something really good?” That is the same mouth move you make when you read a word with the /m/ sound in them.  Lets practice making the /m/ mouth move together. Remember to keep your lips together. Very good, lets do it again but this time I want you to hold the /m/ for a longer time and rub your belly in a circular motion, like you do when something taste really good. [Model how you rub your tummy].  Good job, now we know how to make the /m/ mouth move.

3.   Now, I am going to give a tongue twister.  “Mom makes marvelous mini muffins on Monday mornings.”    I want everybody to say it with me three times. Now, when we say the tongue twister I want everybody to stretch the /m/ at the beginning of the words, and do our hand motion.  “Mmmom mmmakes mmmarvelous mmmmini mmmmuffins on Mmmonday mmmornings.”  

4.   Next, we will review how to write the letter m.  Everyone will get out their primary paper.  To write the letter m you start with your pencil on the fence, move your pencil down to the sidewalk, hump around to the fence, and then hump around to the fence again, so that your pencil ends on the sidewalk. The ‘m’ looks similar to a hump back of a camel. ‘Hump’ back and ‘camel’ both have ‘m’s’ in them so that can help the students remember the shape.

5.   Now I will play a game with the group.  I am going to hold up pictures of different food we can eat.  When I hold up the picture I am going to tell you what food it is.  I want the students to repeat the name of the food and if you make the /m/ mouth move when you say the name, I want you to rub your tummy and all together say, “mmmm mmmm.”  Then I want you to find the same picture I am holding up on your desk and hold it up.  I will look around to see if everyone had the same card.  I am will do the first one for you.  [Hold up a picture of a muffin and say muffin out loud to the class].  “Muffin, mmmm mmmm, yummy muffin.” [place my picture of the muffin in my mixing bowl.] “I made the mouth move /m/ when I said muffin so it goes in my mixing bowl.”  The teacher will hold up numerous different pictures, with and without the /m/ phoneme. 

6.   Read the story The Big Stew by Ben Shecter. We will talk about the story.  Read the story again and have students raise their hand when they hear the words with /m/. List all of the words on the board and the foods with the /m/.  Have the students write a sentence about their favorite meals, beverages, and desserts by using inventive spelling, and have them illustrate their meal.

7.   Pass out a sheet of paper with pictures.  Students must write down what each picture is.  Instruct the students to color in each picture whose name has a /m/.


Reference: Morgan Montgomery, MMM! Something Smells Good!


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