There are many theories on learning to read. I will admit that at this point, I'm just going with my experiences and my gut feeling. Growing up, I wasn't taught phonics in school and therefore had a really hard time with new words and spelling. I still have problems to this day but I've become much better after years of tutoring. Mom, dad...I don't think I've ever said it: Thank you! I realize that not every word follows the rules of phonics and they will have to be memorized but I think learning phonics is the foundation of learning to read. You can only memorize so much.
So, that's where we're beginning. I am presenting letter sounds at the same time I'm presenting letter names. Just like with the letter names, he may not get it right away but he will get it and it will become second nature. Here's a game we like to play. It's a letter matching game. Since Sean is still in the beginnings of learning to identify letters, he has a guide (the letter line pieces). Eventually, we'll play without them. We use alphabet flash cards with the letters up. I ask him to pick a card. Then I ask him what letter and what sound. If he doesn't know or gets it wrong, I simply tell him and ask him to repeat. We then find the matching letter (upper case to lower case). Once matched, we repeat the letter name and sound and start over until they are all matched. He LOVES it. He made me smile today by picking up the "A" and saying the soft A sound. Later he picked up the lower case "e" and said the soft E sound without me even asking. There are still times he tells me that "D" says the soft A sound but there are also times he tells me a "F" is a "B". He'll get it eventually.
So, this is what we are doing at the moment. I will continue to change things up depending on how Sean responds to the methods and what I learn as I continue to read. I'm currently reading The Between the Lions Book for Parents : Everything You Need to Know to Help Your Child Learn to Read.