Emergent Literacy

Making M&M’s With Mike

Emergent Literacy

Sherell Brown

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 (making the “mmmm” sound, as if something is yummy) and the letter symbol M. The children will practice finding /m/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /m/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters. This lesson will allow students to identity the letter M effortlessly.


  • Primary paper and pencil
  • Chart with the tongue tickler “Mike merrily makes M&M’s on Mondays”
  • Word cards with “MAKE, LAKE, MONEY, LAMP, SUN, MOON, and WET”
  • Drawing paper, markers, crayons, colored pencils
  • Assessment worksheet with various pictures for children to identify which words start with /m/. (link attached at bottom)
  • Dr. Seuss's ABC Book (Random House, 1963)


1. Say: Our language is full of many interesting letters! We can think of it as a secret code. It can sometimes be tricky to learn what the letters stand for. Today we will be learning all about the letter M. We will work on spotting the mouth move for /m/ which is spelled with the letter M. M makes the noise “mmm” just like the noise you may make when you eat something delicious!

2. Say: Now I want everyone to think of your favorite food! Once you have an image of your favorite food in your head, I want you to rub your stomachs and say “mmmm”. What happens to your lips when you say “mmm”? Your lips are pressed together! When we say /m/ our mouth stays closed.

3. Say: Let me show you how to find /m/ in different words. Let’s try the word lamp. I’m going to stretch lamp out in super slow motion and I want you to listen for the sound “mmm”. Llll-a-a-a-mmmmmp. Did you hear the /m/? I felt the “m” when saying lamp while my lips were pressed together.

4. Say: Now, let’s say a tongue tickler! (pull out chart with tongue tickler) “Mike merrily makes M&M’s on Mondays.” Now let’s say it three times together. This time let’s stretch out the /m/ at the beginning of the words. “Mmmmike mmmmerrily mmmmakes MMMM&MMM’s on Mmmmondays.” Now let’s try it again and this time we are going to break /m/ off the word. “/M/ike /m/errily /m/akes /M/&/M/’s on /M/ondays.”

5. *Have students take out primary paper and pencil* We use the letter M to spell /m/. I will demonstrate how to write the lowercase and uppercase letter M. To make the uppercase M we start at the sidewalk, go way up to the rooftop, bounce down to the fence, go back up to the rooftop, and end by coming all the way back down to the sidewalk. To make the lowercase m, we start at the sidewalk and then make two humps that bounce up to touch the fence. I want you to make 10 uppercase M’s and then ten lowercase m’s.

6. Use the word cards for students to identify the words with M. Ex: pull out the card that says “MAKE” and ask if they hear the /m/ sound in that word. Next, pull out the card that says “SUN” and ask if they hear the /m/ sound in that word. I will say “If you hear the /m/ sound in a word I say, I want you to say /mmm/ and rub your stomach. If you do not hear the /m/ sound, I want you to say “next!” for the next word.”

7. Say: “Now, we will be looking at an alphabet book! Dr. Seuss tells up about many mumbling mice making music in the moonlight.” Read the page with the letter M and draw out the /m/ as I read. Then have students think of a silly name for their mice I will have them draw. For example, they all draw mice on their sheets and then they could name it “Mumbo” or “Missy” or anything that starts with the letter M. I will ask them to color their drawing after it is completed.

8. To finish up the lesson, I will distribute the worksheets. The worksheet will count as their assessment. Students are to draw lines to the pictures that start with the letter m. After the students have correctly matched the pictures, they will color the pictures of the things that start with the letter m.


Dr. Bruce Murray, Emergent Literacy Design: Brush Your Teeth with F


Kathryne Clark, Max’s Magic Magnets


Dr. Seuss, ABC Book


Assessment worksheet:


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