Mmm, that was good

Emergent Literacy Design: Rub your belly and say mmm /m/.

By: Katie Nirschl

Rationale:  This lesson will teach students about what sound the letter m makes.  Students must understand that the letter m makes the /m/sound in order to learn how to read.  Letters don’t have arbitrary meanings, there is a code that they must learn in order to decipher words for reading.  Activities such as creating a silly monster, tongue twisters, and the analogy with the graphic image will provide students with this code in a fun and memorable way.

Materials:  Smart board, graphic of man above, primary paper, markers, Silly Monsters ABC, note cards, mirrors, Popsicle sticks, computer paper, colored pencils/crayons.


1. Say: Today we are going to learn about the letter m It is important to understand what different sound the letter m and other letters makes so we can become professional readers and read any fun story we want! Now look at the letter m (show card with letter on it) it says /m/.  When I hear the letter m in words I think of someone rubbing their belly and say /m/ that was good after they ate a great meal.  Look at this picture (graphic image above on smart board) see the man is eating a sandwich and rubbing his belly. What is your favorite food?  Okay, now I want you to say /m/ and rub your belly like you just ate (place whatever food they said was their favorite here).  Good.

2. Say:  Now we need to learn how our face looks when we say /m/.  Look at my face when I say /m/ (I say and hold out the /m/).  Now see how my lips are pursed together when I say /m/. Now you try it and look in this mirror.  You should also feel your lips vibrating some. Do you?  Good.  Okay, now we will put our skills to use and try and find the /m/ in words.  I will go first and show you what I want you to do.  In the word mice I hear it say /m/and my lips are pursed together and vibrating, so I know that mice starts with the letter m.  In the word nice I do feel vibration, but my mouth is open and my lips aren’t touching so this does not have  /m/ in it. Now you try, is /m/ in nose, mom, math, cat, mat, no?

3. Say: Now we are going to learn how to find the letter m in plump.  I have to stretch out plump very slow and listen for the /m/ like I just ate something really good. P-ll-uu-mmm-p.  Did you hear the /m/?  I did too when my mouth was closed and I felt it vibrating.

4. Say:  Now y’all are going to help me with a tongue twister (Pull up on smart board).  Okay listen closely here it is “Mary married Mark the music man”.  Okay, lets say it together 3x. (Children say it 3x in unison).  Okay, now I want you to do it again, but really stretch out that /m/ in all the words.  Do it one more time.  Now, I want you to take the /m/ off the word, say the /m/ pause then the rest of the word.  /m/ ary /m/  arried / m/ ark the /m/ usic /m/ an. 

5. Say:  All right, that was a great job everybody.  Now, I want us to practice writing the letter m.  Everybody grab out a piece of primary paper and a pencil. (Have a piece of primary paper on smart board to write on and model).  Okay, we want to do a lower case m.  We start at the fence and draw a stick to the bottom of the sidewalk then we draw and hump up to the fence and down to the sidewalk and then another hump from the sidewalk to the fence back down to the sidewalk.  It is like a ball you drop from the fence then bounces up to the fence two times.  Okay, I’m going to come around and check every body and after I check you off I want you to practice writing it 6 more times.

6. Say:  Everybody needs to be paying very close attention, because I am going to say words and you need to let me know if you hear the /m/ in these words. ( Pull sticks with students name to answer question). Map, nap, trump, run, music.  Now as a class I want you to rub your tummies likes you just ate something good and say /m/ if you hear /m/ in any of the following words:  Muse, ramp, plum, truck, food, family, farm, nice.

7. Say:  Let’s read Silly Monsters ABC.   The author makes up silly names for monsters. Can anyone guess what he might do for a monster that begins with the sound /m/(Read book to students).  Notice how the author made up silly names and monsters for each of the letters?  Well for /m/ it was a mouldy moop.  Now I want you all to create your own monster that begins with the letter m and then illustrate what your monster looks like. (Students will use invented spelling.).

9. Say: Okay now I’m going to put a word up on the smart board and you have to decide what it says. I will do an example first. MAT: is it mat or pat.  Well the /m/ noise is telling me to rub my belly, and say /m/ so it is mat.  Now it’s your turn. (Have students come up individually for assessment): MALL: mall or fall. MAZE: maze or daze. MALT: malt or halt. MORE: more or sore. (Words will be on note cards).  While I assess the students the others will be working on a worksheet where they will be coloring in pictures with the /m/ noise.


Hawksley, Gerald: Silly Monsters ABC.

Murray ,Bruce

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