First, there’s really no one way to teach someone to read.
Second, think like someone who doesn’t know how. What would be hard? What would be easy? How could you make it easier? How is the learner thinking? That’s the important part–cause the learner is the one who doesn’t know how to read.
Third, read aloud, read aloud, read aloud. Did I say it three times? Well, here’s four: read aloud. Yes, I promote it loudly, repeatedly, and passionately as just about a cure-all (and not just for reading learning and reading ailments). Even if it isn’t, it will never hurt.
Finally, in most cases, do not teach a child to read who is not interested. It can wait until they are ready. (In the meantime, read aloud, read aloud, read aloud). And it’s like potty training. Once they’ve learned, you’ll never remember when it happened (honest). And early reading is not a predictor of intelligence or school success.
So what books do I recommend? Here are the ones that have worked for me (and others as well):
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Engelmann (although about 75 lessons are usually enough). I do not recommend doing the writing parts with preschoolers unless they do it in a pan of cornmeal with a fingertip; too much dexterity is required.
Bob Books by Maslen, again only as many sets as hold a child’s interest.
Any beginning reader Dr. Seuss books. I learned with Green Eggs and Ham.
Peggy Kaye’s Games for Reading. Easy to prepare, excellent for PS through grade 3.
Around this point many children have “got” the concept of reading. There is often then a lull in their interest and efforts. This is the time in which the games are excellent and the reading aloud is essential. They are not fluent readers yet; it is still really, really hard work. And the books they can read are often boring and not what they want to read. Would you want to work that hard for that kind of payback?
It will be OK.
I’ll write more later about why.