Letters and Sounds
Letters and sounds are the building blocks of all words. Your kids need to know them to read and write. Go over them and over them until your kids can quickly identify each letter's name and USUAL sound upon sight. (Only worry about the short vowel sounds for the vowels and the "hard" g and c sounds.) Your kids will learn the other sounds as they learn the "tricks." To help your kids learn their letters and sounds faster, utilize alphabet puzzles, refrigerator magnets, bathtub letters, and all sorts of other alphabet toys and games. Don't forget to read lots of alphabet books as well! When you do so, always point to the letter and say its name and sound before going over all of the beginning sound words that accompany the letter on each page.
When going over the letters, have your child say the letter's name, sound, and key word. For example, "A, /a/, alligator; B, /b/, bear; C, /c/ camel..."