Emergent Literacy Design

Emergent Literacy Design: “Mmmmm for Muffins”

Katy Moore

Rationale: This lesson will help children identify /m/, the phoneme represented by M. Students will learn to recognize /m/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (saying “mmmmm” to something that sounds appealing to eat) and the letter symbol M, practice finding /m/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /m/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.

Materials: Primary paper and pencil; chart with "Ms. Moore Made Marvelous Muffins."; drawing paper and crayons;           Dr. Seuss ABC Book); word cards with MAT, MIX, MEET, FIND, NAB, and MAKE; assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /m/.


1. Say: 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 work on spotting the mouth move /m/. We spell /m/ with letter M. You make the “mmm” sound when something sounds good to eat. I usually rub my tummy and say “mmmm”.

2. Let's pretend that we are about to eat a delicious muffin and say “mmm”, /m/, /m/, /m/. What letter makes the “mmmm” sound? What does your mouth do when you say “mmmm”? Let’s say “mmmm” two more times. “Mmmmmm”, “mmmmm”.

3. Let me show you how to find /m/ in the word family. I'm going to stretch left out in super slow motion and listen for my “mmmm” sound. Ff-aa-mmmmm-ii-lly. Slower: Ff-aa-mmmmm-ii-lly There it was! I noticed the “mmmmm”. Ff-aa-mmm-mmmm-mmm-iilly.

4. Now that we have the “mmmm” sound down pat, why don’t we try a tongue twister with the letter /m/. For example, “Ms. Moore made magnificent muffins Monday!” I’ll do it one more time, and then you try it.

Now we are going to stretch out each /m/ we hear in that tongue twister. “MMMMMs. MMMMoore MMMade MMMMarvelous MMMMuffins.” One more time. “MMMMMs. MMMMoore MMMade MMMMarvelous MMMMuffins.”

5. Now I want you to get out a pencil and a piece of paper please! Let’s practice writing the letter /m/. I want you to write both a capitol m, and a lower case /m/. I will do it first to model to the children what upper case and lower case /m/ looks like. They will try it on their own. When they are doing this, I will walk around and make sure they are correctly writing the letter. When I see it is correct, I will put a smiley face on it and ask them for nine more just like that one.

6. Call on students to answer and tell how they knew: Do you hear /m/ in work or fun? Man or girl? Make or buy? Move or still? Mad or sad? Say: Let's see if you can spot the mouth move /m/ in some words. Rub your tummy if you hear /m/: The marvelous magician made a dove move from the mat.

7. Say: "Let's look at an alphabet book. Dr. Seuss tells us about some mice that make music at midnight.  Read page 24, drawing out /m/. Ask children if they can think of other words with /M/. Ask them to make up a silly sentence using the words that have /m/ in it. Then have each student write their silly sentence with invented spelling and draw a picture of what their sentence is about. Display their work.

8. Show MAT and model how to decide if it is mat or pat: The M tells me to rub my tummy like I’m about to eat, /m/, so this word is mmm-at, mat. You try some: MIX: fix or mix? MEET: feet or meet? MIND: find or mind? MAKE: fake or make?

9. For assessment, distribute the worksheet. Students are to complete the partial spellings and color the pictures that begin with M. Call students individually to read the phonetic cue words from step #8.

Click here to return to Edification page