Mischievous Mindy

Emergent Literacy
Milissa King

The second best predictor of reading success is a child’s ability to discriminate between phonemes. (Adams, 40)  The best predictor of beginning reading achievement is a child’s knowledge of letter names. (Adams, 43)  It is important that children are able to match names to letters and letters to their corresponding sounds. In doing this they will be better equipped with the knowledge to be skillful readers and, therefore, be better able to communicate through written language.  The activities in this lesson will help children learn the name of the letter M and it’s corresponding sound m = /m/.


1.    “Today we are going to talk about one of my favorite letters.  It is the letter “M” (show them the letter “M” – either written or a picture of it) and I see this letter every day because it is the first letter in my name.  I bet that all of you see this letter every day also – but you may not even notice.

2.     “ How many of you like pizza?  How about ice cream?  Does anyone like cake?  I like all of these very much and every time I eat them I make one kind of sound.  Can anyone guess what that sound is?  Give the children a chance to answer.  I say “Mmm, Mmm good!”  Can you say that?  When you say that can you rub your belly to show me that it tastes “Mmm, Mmm good?”  Do you know that there is something very special about this sound?  It has a letter that is it’s friend and almost always travels with it wherever it goes.  I like to call it the ‘hungry letter’ because whenever you see it, it says, “Mmmmm.”  (Present to them a picture of the capital and lower case /m/ with removable ice cream cone and bunny ears.)  “Can  you say “Mmmmm?  When you say “Mmmmm” I want you to think about what your mouth is doing.  Can you see what mine is doing when I say “Mmmmm?”

3.    “There are many words with the sound “Mmm”.  I would like for you all to listen to what I say and when you hear the “Mmmm” sound rub your belly like this.  Are you ready? – Mischievous Mindy made me miss my Monday meeting.”  (stressing/ dramatizing the m = /m/ in every word.)  Now take the tongue twister out that was written down (on chart paper, sentence strips or on the board) and show it to them in written context.

4.    “Now I would like for you to take out your paper and pencil so we can try to make the letter “M” ourselves.  Let’s try the capital M first – Start on the rooftop and go down straight through the fence and stop when you get to the sidewalk.  Next, go back to where you started on the rooftop and go down the slide thru the fence until you hit the sidewalk and then back up the slide thru the fence to the next rooftop.  Finally, go down straight through the fence to the sidewalk and stop.  ‘Good job!!’  Now let’s try the lowercase m – Start on the fence and go down to the sidewalk then back up toward the fence and hump around and down to the sidewalk again.  Now go back up to the fence and hump around and down to the sidewalk again. ‘Good job!!’

5.    “I am going to say a couple of words and I would like for you to tell me when you hear the “Mmm” sound (m = /m/).  Do you hear “mmm” in mitten or glove?  Do you hear “mmm” in home or house?  Do you hear “mmm” in coming or going?  Do you hear “mmm” in me or you?  Do you hear “mmm” in some or all?  Do you hear “mmm” in mat or rug?

6.    Read the story Are You My Mother by Philip D. Eastman and discuss the story with the children.  “I am going to read the story Are You My Mother  by Philip D. Eastman.  I want you to listen as I read.  When you hear the sound “mmm” ( m = /m/) I would like for you to rub your belly.

7.    I will assess the children throughout the lesson by observing the answers to questions I ask and by making anecdotal notes.  I will also pass out a sheet with various pictures on it.  The children will circle and color the pictures that have the corresponding “mmm” sound  (m = /m/) represented in the picture.

Adams, M. (1990)  Beginning to Read:  Thinking and Learning about Print.  Center for the Study of Reading, The Reading Research and     Educational Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  pgs. 40 & 43

Eastman, P. (1960) Are You My Mother? Random House Children's Books.  New York.

Morgan, Leigh. - Vacuum that Rug!  http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/guides/morganel.html

The Reading Genie: How to Teach Phoneme Awareness:  Making Friends with Phonemes


Any Questions or Comments?  e-mail Milissa King