Mmm Mmm Good! 

Emergent Literacy

Jara Walden

Rationale:  Children need to learn to recognize the sound /m/ in words and learn to match the phoneme /m/ with the letter m.  The consonant m is one of the easier phonemes to recognize.

Materials:  Primary paper and pencil; chart with "Molly made a mess with her milk"; one rubber band for the teacher; class set of cards containing pictures of objects beginning with the letter m; sheet of paper for each child with a large letter M printed on it; pretend paper money; glue; assessment worksheet with ten boxes on it.

1. Start by introducing the letter m.  Tell the children that we will be learning the letter m and the mouth move that represents the letter m so that they will be able to recognize m in words.

2. Ask students:  Did you ever have some kind of food that tasted really good and say "Mmm?"  That is the mouth move we are going to look for in words.  When you say /m/, you press your lips together.  I will show you how to spot /m/ in words.  I will stretch out the word to see if I press my lips together just like when my ice cream is "Mmm, Mmm, good."  Stretch out the word map to see if you hear the /m/.  I'll try.   Mmm-aa-pp.  Yes, you are right.  The /m/ is at the beginning of the word.

3. Let's try a tongue twister.  Molly made a mess with her milk.  Now, let's say it together.  Good.  Now watch me stretch out the /m/ sound. (Teacher uses a rubberband when stretching out the /m/.)  Mmmmolly-mmmade-a-mmmess… Now, you pretend like you have a rubber band and stretch out the M sound.  (Children will move their hands pretending to stretch a rubber band.) Try it again and this time let's break the /m/ off of each word.  /M/olly /m/ade a /m/ess with her /m/ilk.

4. Now, let's try writing the letter M.  (Students take out primary paper and pencil.)  We use the letter M to spell /m/.  Start at the ground.  Climb the mountain all the way to the sky.  Slide down the mountain all the way back down to the ground.  Do not pick up your pencil.  Now there's another mountain.  Climb up the mountain to the sky and back down to the ground again.  After I check your paper you can make a whole line of M's.

5. Have the children tell whether they hear /m/ in the words that the picture cards represent.  Have several pictures of obvious objects.  Some should start with the letter m and others should not so that the children can try to recognize the /m/ sound.  Tape the pictures on the chalkboard. Allow the children to take turns coming up to the board.  If the object starts with the /m/ sound they can circle it with the chalk.  If it does not, they can take the picture off of the board and place it aside.  When all of the answers are correct only the objects starting with the letter m will be remaining on the board.  You can then go over the words again, stressing the /m/ sound in the words.  Some pictures you can use are: monkey, mouse, map, mother, mirror, macaroni, milk, bird, dog, apple, car, nail, nose.

6. To help the children remember the /m/ letter-sound connection, give each child a sheet of paper that has a large letter m written on it.  Give each child some play money (coins or dollars) and allow them to glue the money onto the letter m.  This will remind them that the letter m makes the /m/ sound like in /m/oney.

7. Sing a song to the tune of "Old McDonald Had A Farm" but instead of saying e-i-e-i-o  use the /m/ phoneme.  For example,  Old McDonald had a monkey, me-my-me-my-mo
Old McDonald had a mouse, me-my-me-my-mo.

8. Read the book Miss Spider's ABC's by David Kirk and have the children clap one time when they hear the /m/ sound.

Use a worksheet that has ten blank boxes on it.  Show the children the pictures from the earlier picture card game one at a time.  Make sure the children know what word the picture is representing.  If the word has the /m/ sound the children put a check in the box.  If the word does not have the /m/ sound they put an X in the box.

                   Eldredge, Lloyd L. Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. (ch. 5) Merrill; Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, 1995.

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