“M is Yummmmmy!”

Keri Sweatt
Emergent Literacy

Rationale: Before students can learn to read or spell words they have to be able to associate letters with the individual phonemes they stand for. Phonemes are vocal gestures or mouth movements that correspond with a letter. Children need to learn to recognize phonemes in spoken contexts, before they match phonemes to letters. In this lesson, students will learn to identify the sound and spelling of /m/ by listening for the phoneme, writing the letter, and reading a book with a lot of words with the phoneme /m/. They will be assessed with a worksheet at the end of the lesson.


-Tongue twister on chart paper: "On Mondays Michael's mother Mary mostly mopped."

-Primary paper (for each child)

-Pencils (for each child)

-Picture cards (mop, mouse, camera, mitten, monkey)

-If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff
Publisher: HarperCollins Children Books, 1991

-Picture worksheet for assessment (pictures: mitten, car moose, chair, mop, football, macaroni, cat, map)

1. Introduce the lesson to the students by explaining that we are going to learn a new letter and the sound that letter makes. "First, we have to pretend we are detectives. We need to figure out what movements our mouth makes when we say /m/. It may be tricky to spot the mouth movement for /m/, but soon you'll be able to find the /m/ sound in lots of words!"
2. "What is your favorite food? My favorite food is spaghetti and whenever I get done eating spaghetti I always say, "Mmmm... I want some more." Have you eve done that? So let's pretend that right now we are eating our favorite foods.  Let the kids practice the /m/ sound until they get comfortable.  Have the students take the time out and tell you how their mouths are held while they are emulating the sound. Make sure to point out the fact that we pinch our lips together then open them up.      
3. "Repeat after me." Say each word once, and then repeat it with the students: match, mix, mom, me. Emphasize the /m/ sound in each word, and rub your tummy on the /m/ sound. "Good job! Now let's try a tongue twister with lots of m's! Say it with me. Point to the words on the chart as you say each word: "On Mondays Michael's mother Mary mostly mopped." "Let's read our tongue twister again two more times, but lets rub our tummy when we say /m/." "Now we are going to do it again and hold the /m/ sound at the beginning of the words. "On Mmmmmondays Mmmmmichael's mmmmmother Mmmmmary mmmmmostly mmmmmopped." We are going to try it one more time, but we are going to break the /m/ sound away from the word: "On /M/ ondays /M/ ichael's /m/ other /M/ ary /m/ ostly /m/ opped."

4. "As detectives I am going to need your helping finding the /m/ sound in these words. When you hear the /m/ sound I want you to rub your tummy." Hold up pictures one at a time saying the corresponding word. Stretch out each word so the /m/ sound is clear. Pictures: mat, mouse, camera, mitten, monkey.
5. "I need you guys to do some more detective work. Do you hear /m/ in mango or pear?" Call on a student who is raising their hand to answer and explain how they knew to the class. Cup or mug? Fix or mix? Bake or make? April or May?
6. "The letter m is going to help us spell /m/." Have the students get out primary writing paper and a pencil. "We are going to write both upper case and lower case. I am going to demonstrate how to write the letter on the chart paper first. To make an upper-case letter m you first go straight down, down the slide, up the slide and down straight. Now let's try doing it together. I will help any students that are having trouble. Next we will write a lower-case m. Start at the fence. You first go down, hump around, hump around. Now let's try doing it together. I will help any students that are having trouble. Now we will practice writing lower and upper case m's. I'm going to call out either upper or lower and you are going to have to write it." Now you will know how to write a m in a word that has the /m/ sound!"
7. "What do you think would happen if you gave a moose a muffin? In this story a little boy gives a moose a muffin, and then the moose wants jam, which makes the muffins so good he eats all of them! The moose wants the boy to go to the store to get muffin mix to make more muffins and then he wants more and more things. Do you think the little boy can keep up with all the things the moose wants?" "As I read the story, be good detectives and listen for all of the /m/ sounds. When you hear /m/ remember to rub your tummy." Read If You Give a Moose a Muffin.
8. To assess the students individual understanding of the phoneme /m/ give each student a page with different pictures on it. Some of the pictures will begin with m, others will not. Have the students say the name of each picture to their self, then color each picture that starts with a m.

Stephan, Erin. "Purple Penguins and Popping Popcorn". http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/encounters/stephanel.html
 Murray, Bruce. "Sound the Foghorn." http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/navig/murrayel.html

Return to the Voyages index.