Is That With a “K”?

Scripture: Daniel 3

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will review the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Obednego.
  • Students will learn that they had Hebrew names and Babylonian names.
  • Students will learn some letter combinations can represent more than one sound.
  • Students will participate in an activity to help them understand some letter combinations can represent more than one sound.

Guiding Question: Why are “Shadrach”, “Meshach” and “Nebuchadnezzar” not spelled with a “k” or “ck”?

Materials: Bibles, paper, markers, highlighters, scissors, letter tiles or 3-D wooden/plastic letters (the magnetic kind or alphabet puzzle pieces. Optional Preparation: Print our the passage on a piece of paper for each student, modifying the type so that the letters are clear and he text is double spaced.

Procedure: Review the story in Daniel 3. Have the students read aloud Daniel 3, looking for long and/or unfamiliar words or names. Have the students make a list of words in the story that they (or someone else) might have trouble with. Ex. Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Nebuchadnezzar. This can be done on the paper, underlining words as they are identified. Pronounce the words for the students. Have the students identify and highlight or circle the letter combinations in the list of word that represent a single sound: th, ph, sh, ou, ea, tt, ll, bb, ie, ough, etc. For example: Shadrach, Nebuchadnezzar. Assist the students in drawing lines between the syllables words: Ne/bu/chad/ne/zzar (or Ne/bu/chad/nezz/ar, Neb/u/chad/ne/zzar, etc.) If they have trouble, explain that every syllable must have one (and only one) vowel sound. Have them use a small piece of paper to cover the word, and then draw it to the right slowly, revealing one letter at a time until a consonant sound follows a vowel. That is the end of he syllable. (There are also words that have two separate vowel sounds next to each other forming different syllables: vir-tu-al, co-op-er-a-tion, re-al-i-ty.)

Have the students practice dividing the words into syllables using 3-D manipulative letters or tiles. This activity is especially helpful, because the letters move freely and the student can put the word together and apart easily. Even letters written on small squares of paper can be used. If possible, have double-letter sounds represented by a single piece (write both letters on a blank Scrabble tile or on the back of another tile, or attach two letters together.)

Finally, the words can be written whole on strips of paper and cut up into syllables. Have the students practice putting the word chunks together in the right order as they read them aloud. Then have them separate the syllables as they read the word. For students with a sense of humor, try mixing the order of the word chunks and having the students read them: U zzar chad neb, etc. The important thing is that the student becomes so adept at breaking up the word physically that he begins to see the words that way, and breaks them up mentally without thinking.

Additional Questions:

  • When we’re trying to read a new word, how do we know what sound a pair of letters represents?

Supplemental Activity: Have the students find other difficult words in the Bible. Encourage them to find different ways to learn how to pronounce them properly. Encourage them to share their findings with other students.