Muffins are Yummmmmy!

Emergent Literacy
Ashley Wild

Rationale: To learn to read and spell words, children need the alphabetic insight that letters stand for phonemes and spellings map out the phonemes in spoken words.  Before children can match letters to phonemes, they have to recognize phonemes in spoken word contexts.  This lesson focuses on the /m/ phoneme.  The goal of this lesson is that children will learn to identify /m/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation and a letter symbol, and then practice finding /m/ in printed words.


Materials: Primary paper and pencil for each student; chart with “On Mondays Michael's mother Mary mostly mopped”; class set of cards with m on one side and a question mark on the other; If You Give A Moose A Muffin book by Laura Joffe Numeroff; picture page with monkey, dog, man, cat, cookie, marker, jam, ball, moose, door, girl, muffin and crayons for each student



    1.  Introduce the lesson by explaining that our written language is a secret code.  The tricky part is learning what letters stand for—the mouth moves we make as         we say words.  “Today we’re going to be working on spotting the mouth move /m/ and we’ll be searching for /m/ in words!”

    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.  Let’s 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.  “Let’s try a tongue twister [on chart].  ‘On Mondays Michael’s mother Mary mostly mops.’  Now let’s all say it three times together.  Say it    
        again but this time I want you to s-t-r-e-t-c-h the /m/ at the beginning of the words and rub your belly whenever you hear the /m/ sound.  ‘On        
        Mmmondays Mmmichael’s mmmother Mmmary mmmostly mmmops.’  Try it again, and this time break the /m/ off the words: ‘On /m/ ondays             /m/ ichael’s /m/ other /m/ ary /m/ ostly /m/ ops.’”

    4.  Have students take out primary paper and pencil.  “We can use letter m to spell /m/.  Let’s try writing it.  To write the letter m you start with your
        pencil on the fence, move your pencil down, hump around, hump around, so that your pencil ends on the sidewalk.  I’d like to see everybody’s
.  After I put a check mark on it, I’d like for you to do a total of 10 m’s.  When you see the letter m all by itself in a word, that’s your signal to
        say /m/.”

    5.  “I'm going to say two words now and listen to see if the /m/ sound is in either one of them.  ‘Star.’ ‘Moon.’”  Slowly repeat both words a few
        times.  “‘Ssstttaaarrr.’  ‘Mmmooonnn.’  I hear /m/ in moon.  Now I’ll let you try.” 
Call on students to answer and tell how they knew:

    1. “Do you hear /m/ in music or book?”
    2. “Do you hear /m/ in crayon or marker?”
    3. “Do you hear /m/ in mad or sad?”
    4. “Do you hear /m/ in jump or jog?”

   6.  Pass out "m/?" cards to each student.  “Show me m if you hear /m/ and the question mark if you don’t.”  Give words one at a time: “On, Mondays,
        Michael’s, mother, Mary, mostly, mops”

   7.  Introduce If You Give A Moose A Muffin by Laura Joffe Numeroff by giving an engaging booktalk.  Read it and then talk about the story.  Read it again,
        and have students rub their belly when they hear words with /m/.  Have students create their own tongue twister with the /m/ sound using 1-2-3-4 poetry on
        their primary paper using invented spelling.  The first word in their tongue twister should be an animal with the /m/ sound.  The second word should be
        something (a verb) that that animal does.  The third word will describe the animal (an adjective) and will actually go at the beginning of the sentence.  The final
        word in their tongue twister will describe how the animals do what they do (another adjective).  Each word should contain the /m/ sound at the beginning.  An         example would be: “Moody monkeys munch miserably.”  Display sentences around the classroom.

   8.  For assessment, distribute the picture page and help students name each picture.  Have students color the pictures whose names have /m/. 


Eldredge, J. L. “Developing Phonemic Awareness Through Stories, Games, and Songs: Activities to Enhance Rhyme and Alliteration.” Teach Decoding: Why and How. 2nd ed. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc., 2005. 67-68.

Numeroff, Laura J. If You Give A Moose A Muffin. Scholastic, Inc., 1991. Felicia Bond. 29 pages.

“Buzzy B’s” by Meg Miller.

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