Most kids start to learn to read at kindergarten but they are also learning lots of other things to do with communication. They are still increasing their speaking vocabulary, which is very important. As the more words a child can say the more they should understand when you read to them.
When introducing phonics keep it simple and try not to teach the alphabet sounds, just teach the phonic sounds. These are what the child needs so she can read, not the alphabet sounds. There is no relationship between the alphabet sounds and phonic sounds. They only help to confuse the child.
I like to use the Montessori way of teaching as it combines listening, feeling and speaking. And the kids love it, which helps. Maria Montessori uses sandpaper letters and the kids love tracing the letters. First you start off saying the phonic sound then the children trace the letter while saying the sound. After tracing a number of sounds the children start to make up words.
A very simple system and one that works really well. For example we will use the word ‘bag’. Start teaching the vowel ‘a’ first, then move onto ‘b’ and ‘g’. Maria Montessori likes to join the consonants with the vowel so you will get the children to trace ‘ba’ and ‘ag’. Now it is time to bring in new letters like ’i’ for ‘big’ and ‘t’ for ‘bat’
After the children can say all the phonic sounds place all the letters on the table and say one word ‘bag’ and see if the child picks the correct letters in the correct order. That is the Montessori method in a nutshell. You just keep adding new phonic sounds and words everyday. The advantage with this method is the children learn to write while tracing the letters.