Stop at a few words with strong picture clues in stories you read outloud.
Let a pre-reader know you will be stopping sometimes and letting him or her read a few words.
Point under a word and point to a picture clue.
A child may "read" or guess a wrong word that matches the picture clue but does not match the sounds in the written word. This is the time to praise a child for thinking of a word that makes sense. Let the child know the word he or she read was a good try. Ask the child to try again making sure the sounds match the letters in the written word.
Since you are working with a pre-reader, I suggest only asking a child to make the beginning sound or consonant blend of the missing word before "reading" or guessing at the word again. I like to cover all of the word except for the beginning sound or blend.
I bet I have a few readers of this post questioning this strategy. Good! I want you to question my advice. You should question everything you do while teaching a child to read. Is this strategy working? Is this child frustrated? Is this too easy? Please check out my page of Reading Resources to Share to access teaching ideas from various resources. Every child is different. Each child has a unique way of thinking and different strengths and weaknesses. I don't believe any program, person, or book has all the answers to teach a child to read.
Many of you may have been wanting me to show the child all the letters in the word and teach the child to blend them. Teaching a child to blend all the sounds in words is important.
Many pre-readers will get the most benefit from matching a beginning sound to a picture clue without focusing on all the sounds of a word. My suggestion is to fill in the correct word quickly after a child has made a second try using the beginning sound and keep reading the book.
The following pictures demonstrate this strategy with the books Are You My Mother? and The Shark Who Was Afraid of Everything.
Here are some free online reading games to reinforce this skill and learn letter sounds.
Letter TV Brick Wall
Here's a video of my daughter and I demonstrating how an adult can pause and let a child fill in a missing word using a picture clue and beginning sound. I thank my daughter for taking the time to help me. She thought it was a little silly for her to pretend she couldn't read the whole page herself.
Please add a few suggested books with strong picture clues in a comment for all readers of this blog to try out with a pre-reader.