Mommy's Monsters!


Caroline Trefethen

Emergent Literacy


Rationale: For children to begin to learn and spell words, they need the alphabetic understanding that letters stand for phonemes. Then the spellings map out the phonemes in the words. Before children can learn to match up letters to phonemes, they have to be able to distinguish phonemes. Letter recognition is one of the number one indicators of reading success. This lesson concentrates on the /m/ phoneme. The goal is to get children to recognize /m/ in spoken words by learning a significant representation and a letter symbol, and then practice locating /m/ in printed words.


Materials:  Primary Paper, Pencil, Chart paper with "Tongue Twister", Book, The Very Worst Monster by Pat Hutchins, cards with m/?, picture worksheet.



 1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that spoken and written language is made out of 26 letters that makes up the alphabet. Today we are going to learn one of these letters and the sound it makes. The letter we are learning today is the letter m and it makes the /m/ sound. Once you know the letter m and its /m/ sound, you will be able to find it in a lot of words.

 2.  Ask your students: When you taste or smell food that is very good, what's the sound you normally say?  MMMM, very good! This is the sound that m makes. When making the /m/ sound, do you feel your lips together and your mouth vibrate? This is what you should feel when making the /m/ sound. A word that has the /m/ sound is Mom. Let's try and stretch the word mom out so you can hear the /m/ sound, mmmoomm. Very good!

 3.  [Go to chart with Tongue Twister] Let's go try a tongue twister! "Mommy's little monsters munch on many marshmallows" Let's try to say to together. Now let's say it by stretching out the /m/ sound at the beginning of the m words like we did at the start of saying MMMM. Mmmommy's little mmmonsters mmmunch on mmmany mmmarshmallows. Great job everybody!

 4. [Students get out their primary paper and pencils] Explain to the students that we use the letter m to spell /m/.  Let's practice writing the letter m! First we are going to practice upper case M. [Model each step as you are explaining] Put your pencil at the sidewalk and go straight up to the roof. Keep your pencil on the paper and make a diagonal to the fence. Then go back up in another diagonal to the roof. Next go straight down to the sidewalk! You have finished an upper case m! Let's try a lower case m! Start at the fence and go straight down to the sidewalk, then start going back up toward the fence but then make a hump, make another hump but go straight down to the sidewalk. You just make and upper and lower case m! Now practice writing the letter m five times just like we did.

 5.  I am going to say some words and tell me if you hear the sound /m/ in the words...

            Moon or Soon?

            Hid or Ham?

            Jam or Jet?

 6.  If you hear the /m/ sound put the card with a m on it up in the air. If you don't hear the sound /m/ put the card with the ? mark up in the air.


Great job!

 7.  Read the book The Very Worst Monster by Pat Hutchins and discuss the story together. Then have everyone stretch out the /m/ in each other m words.

 8.  For the assessment part of the lesson have a picture worksheet. The students will circle the pictures that have the /m/.



            Murray, Dr. Bruce. 2008. The Reading Genie Website.            

 Hooper, Liz. 2007. Mmmmmm Mmmmm Yum!

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