Mmmmm Mmmmm Mushy Marshmallows!

Emergent Literacy
Jenni Pang

Rationale: To read and spell words, children need the alphabetic insight that letters stand for phonemes and spellings map out phonemes in spoken words.  Before children can match letters to phonemes, they have to recognize phonemes.  This lesson will help children to learn and recognize /m/.  The sound made after eating a marshmallow (or something as equally delicious to the children) is /m/.  The students will lean 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 mouth is munching on mushy marshmallows."; a class set of cards with m on one side and ? on the other side; a picture page for each student with milk, orange, fork, mint, mouth, gum, fish, cream, corn, meat, muffin, and juice; drawing paper and crayons; and The Animals of Farmer Jones by Rudolf Freund.

Procedure: 1. Sometimes when we write words, it can be tricky.  Letters stand for the way our mouths move when we say words.  Today we are going to work on the mouth move /m/.

2. Ask students: Have you ever eaten something that tasted really good and said /m/?  That's the mouth move that we are going to be looking for today in words.  Let's pretend we are eating some mushy marshmallows by the campfire and say /m/.  /m/ these marshmallows are yummy!

3. Look at the chart.  I am going to say this funny tongue twister, and I want you to say it after me.  "My mouth is munching on mushy marshmallows."  Good job boys and girls.  Let's say it together 3 times.  (Say the tongue twister.)  Now lets say it and stretch out the /m/ sound at the beginning of the words.  "Mmmmy mmmouth is mmmunching on mmmushy mmmarshmallows."  Good!  Now let's try it again and this time, lets break it off the word.  "/M/ y /m/ outh is /m/ unching on /m/ ushy /m/ arshmallows."  Nice job.

4. Now get out your pencils and paper.  We can use the letter "m" to spell /m/.  Let's practice writing it.  Start at the middle of the road, draw down to the edge of the road, make a hump that touches the middle of the road then curve down to the edge of the road, and hump over again (model while telling the students).  When you hear the /m/ sound in a word, that is when you write "m".  Now I want you to try one on your own paper.  When I come put a star on your paper, I want to you to draw 5 more like it.

5. Call on students to answer: Do you hear /m/ in "yours" or "mine."  "Swim" or "run?"  "Come" or "go?"  "Monkey" or "bird?"  Let's see if you can spot the mouth move in some other words.  Pass out a card to each student.  Show me "m" if you can hear /m/ and the question mark if you don't.  Give the words one at a time, "My, mouth, is, munching, on, mushy. Marshmallows.

6. Read The Animals of Farmer Jones and discuss the story.  Read it again, but have children raise their hands when they hear the /m/ sound.  List those words on the board.  Have students draw a picture of something with the /m/ sound and write a message about it using invented spelling.  Display their work around the classroom.

7. For assessment, distribute the picture page and have the children name each picture.  Have the students circle the pictures that have /m/.

Reference: Murray, Dr. Bruce.  2001. The Reading Genie Website.

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