How to Teach the M Sound
Posted by Heidi | Filed under Improving Articulation
“Mmmmmmmm,” the /m/ sound. A fun sound to teach, because even if your child isn’t using it correctly in all positions of words he/she most likely uses or has played around with this sound. “Ma-ma-ma-ma,” is usually one of the first sounds we hear our little kiddos babble because the /m/ sound is made by bringing the lips together which is one of the first motor skills our little ones learn. If however, you feel you need to start from the very beginning I will walk you through the steps. Here we go…
How to Elicit the /m/ Sound:
1. Model the sound yourself and encourage your little one to imitate you.
2. Put your child’s hand on your mouth while you are making the sound so they can feel the vibrations, then put their hand on their own mouth and encourage them to try to make the sound.
3. Have them watch themselves in the mirror to make sure they are bringing both lips together.
4. If they have difficulty bringing their lips together because of low muscle tone it is time for some lip exercises. If this is the case let me know and I’ll give further suggestions.
Practice the /m/ Sound in Syllables:
Put the /m/ sound in front of all the long and short vowels, may, me, my, mow and moo. Then practice the /m/ sound at the end of the vowels, um, am, im, om, em and finally in the middle of the vowels, imo, aymu, ema, omee … you get the idea.
If your child can successfully say the /m/ at the beginning of syllables then they are ready to practice the sound at the beginning of words.
Practice the /m/ Sound in Words:
If your child can say the syllables above with a nice /m/ sound then he is ready to move them into words. Below are 3 links to download picture cards of words beginning with the /m/ sound, ending with the /m/ sound or with /m/ occuring in the middle. You can also download these and other sound cards on the worksheets page.
Here are 3 sets of word cards to help teach the /m/ sound:
1. m-initial words.pdf
If your child can say the /m/ sound in the beginning of words then practice the initial /m/sound in sentences. For example “Mail me a _________.” Fill in the blank with the initial /m/ words you have been practicing, “Mail me a moose, or Mail me a mermaid…”
If your child can say the /m/ sound at the end of words then practice the the final /m/ sound in sentences. For example, “_________ come home.” Again filling in the blank with the final /m/ words you practiced.
If your child can say the /m/ sound well in the middle of words then practice the medial /m/ in sentences. For example, “Sammy has a __________.”
Move the /m/ Sound into Stories
Create short stories with the picture cards you have been practicing. Have your child practice retelling them. For example, “The mummy went to the mountains and ate marshmallows and macaroni. Then he met a mermaid and shared milk and muffins…” Be creative with this, the most important thing is to create an opportunity for your child to get as much practice with the sounds as possible.
Move the /m/ Sound into Conversation
If your child is successful with the /m/ sound while retelling the stories you have created he is ready to move the /m/ sound into conversation. It is at this point you can correct your child if he forgets to pronounce the /m/ correctly in conversation.
I hope these suggestions help. Remember, the more opportunities for practicing the sounds the quicker you will see change. But be patient, no one performs well under stress, especially not our little ones!
Heidi Hanks, M.S.CCC-SLP has been a practicing Speech-Language Pathologist since 2000. She graduated from Utah State University where she completed both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. She began her career in early intervention and eventually started her own private practice where she has worked primarily with pre-K through school age kids. She is the founder of Little Bee Speech, and is currently developing apps for speech and language. Heidi lives in Utah with her husband and 4 children.