Learning to read is one of the greatest adventures!
My 5 year-old is in the process of emerging as a beginning reader. What fun watching him discover how letters combine together to create words.
To help him on his way, we have been using a combination of explicit phonics and sight words. We are intensive on the phonics and use the sight words as helpers to make reading real books easier.
To assist with quick recognition of high frequency words we have been playing a game called Roll-Say-Keep found at TheSchoolBell.com.
Now that he knows how to read all of the words in Dolch List 1, he is able to read much more difficult books than basic phonics primers. We often read as a team, with him reading all the short words and me reading the irregular or longer ones!