Marvelous Monsters!
Emergent Literacy Lesson Design
Miranda Young

Rationale:  Before they can begin to read, students must understand that words are made up of different sounds. The smallest unit of sound in a word is called a phoneme. It is important that students understand phonemes because studies have found that the ability to discriminate phonemes is one of the best predictors of first-year reading achievement (Adams).  In this lesson, the students will learn the phoneme /m/. By the end of the lesson, they will be able to identify the phoneme /m/ in spoken words. They will also understand the relationship between the /m/ phoneme and the letter m. Finally, they will practice finding /m/ in words.

Materials:  A set of flashcards, chart with the phrase "Max the Monster made a mess in my room on Monday" on it, primary paper, pencils, chalkboard, chalk, the book My Monster Mama Loves Me So by Laura Leuck, a class set of cards with the letter m on them, worksheet (attached)

1. First, the teacher should review the phonemes the class has learned so far. These would include the phonemes for all of the vowels and the consonants b-l. She should do this by using the set of picture flashcards. She should hold up one picture at a time. The class will first say the name of what the picture is and then say the first phoneme in the word. For a picture of a bat, the class would say "Bat, /b/."
2. The teacher should begin the new lesson by posting a chart with the phrase "Max the Monster made a mess in my room on Monday" on it. The class will read the phrase together. "What sound do we hear the most in this sentence?" After a student answers /m/, the teacher continues. "Right! What do you usually say when you taste something that is really good? Right! Mmmmm! That is the same sound that is in some of the words that we just read. When we make this sound, our lips should be pressed together and our mouths vibrate. (Model this for class) Letís read the sentence again. This time I want us to stretch out the /m/ sound when it is in a word. Instead of just saying Max, I want us to say Mmmmmax. Letís begin." The class then reads the sentence together.
3. "Now let's get out our pencils and paper. By looking at the sentence we just read, what letter do you think stands for the /m/ sound? Right! It is the letter m. Today we are going to make this letter on our paper. Start at the fence and go down to the sidewalk. Without picking your pencil up off of the paper, go back up to the fence and make one hump on your paper. Then make another hump just like the first one. (While talking, model this on a chalkboard for the class.) These humps are like the humps on a camels back. After you have made the second hump, you have made an m! I want you to practice by making four more of these on your paper. Remember that the letter m spells the /m/ sound."
4. Next the teacher will ask the students to raise their hands and answer the following questions. "Do you hear the /m/ sound in the word cat or mouse? Do you hear /m/ in none or some? In sing or hum?" The class will raise their hands and answer these questions. Then the teacher will hand out a card with the letter m on it to everyone in the class. As the teacher slowly reads the book, My Monster Mama Loves Me So, each student will lift up their m card each time they hear the /m/ sound.
5. Finally, the students will be given the attached worksheet. On the worksheet, the children will circle each word that they believe has /m/ in it. The teacher will call out the name of each picture and give the children enough time to circle it if they believe the word has the /m/ sound in it. The words are (beginning at top, left and ending at bottom, right): camel, man, apple, moon, elephant, and lamp. This will be the assessment for the lesson.

Adams, Marilyn Jager. (1990). Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print  A
Summary. Center for the Study of Reading The Reading Research and Education
 Center; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. p.36.
Murray, Dr. Bruce. 2002. The Reading Genie Website.

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