"Here we have the key to reading. No meaningless combinations of letters, no cla, cle, cli, clo, clu, no ath, eth, ith, oth, uth, should be presented to him. The child should be taught from the first to regard the printed word as he already regards the spoken word, as the symbol of fact or idea of full of interest." Charlotte Mason
Review the alphabet and its sounds with cards that have pictures on them. (C representing cat, etc...)
Take up two magnetic letters and make the syllable 'at'
Tell him it is the word we use when we say ' at home,' 'at school.'
Then put b to 'at'- bat; c to 'at' - cat; fat, hat, mat, sat, rat, and so on.
First, let the child say what the word becomes with each initial consonant to 'at,' in order to make hat, pat, cat.
Let the syllables all be actual words which he knows.
Set the words in a row, and let him read them off. (Notice we are teaching words immediately rather than meaningless combinations.)
Teach him the sight word 'the'
Show the sentence: The fat cat sat on the mat. Have the child read it to you. "Wow! you are reading!"
Review the fat cat sentence.
Make a new combination with the letters such as 'en.'
'How many words can you make with "en" ?'
Make a few more combinations 'op' etc...
You may choose to read a simple book at this time that has short vowel sounds. Children love it when they have read their first book.
Let the long sounds of the vowels be learned in the same way: use the same syllables as before with a final e; thus 'at' becomes 'ate,' and we get late, pate, rate, etc. The child may be told that a in 'rate' is long a; a in 'rat' is short a.
Explain the rule (but call it a TRICK)
When the ‘e’ vowel is at the end of a word, it is quiet and the vowel in the middle of the word says it’s own name.
You may choose to read a simple book at this time that has short and long vowel sounds.
At this point, I stop phonic lessons and only teach an occasional phonic 'trick' when we come across it while I listen to my child read aloud from simple readers. I do this for only about two weeks and switch over to living books as soon as possible.
When two vowels go walking the first one does the talking and the second one is quiet.
'gh' is quiet in the middle of a word
I also explain, when we come across sight words, that they are 'rule breakers.' Those pesky critters are always breaking the rule and sound the way they please.
This combination of phonetics and sight words will be the key to success in learning to read.
After successfully reading to mom and dad several readers, introduce a sticker chart. When your child reads 40 living books aloud, she takes the family to a special place (carnival, zoo, etc...)
Transitional easy readers for beginning readers:
Little Bear series
Frog and Toad series
Little Jewel series
Billy and Blaze series
NOTE: This method is not exactly how CM taught reading. Her method intrigues me and I will probably try it with my last child. You can read about it in Vol 1 of her educational series.