When a child is first learning to read, it is important to give a little help and know a little about sounding out words yourself. Reading Horizons has a free phonics course for parents. Just visit the highlighted link and find phonics training under the resources tab.
Reading Bear is a free site that helps teach children to sound out words.
Here's a link to some Reading Programs I recommend.
If you've been reading my blog for awhile you know the story of how my daughter started reading by memorizing words and using picture clues. She didn't learn to sound out words until the middle of first grade and was falling behind her twin brother. Here's a link to her story and the story of how my other two children learned to read.
Should we be teaching children sight words?
There are many people who promote learning words by sight. Eventually words are known by sight. Often times when an early reader memorizes a few words it helps them read some simple books and increases confidence. I hope by sharing my story I can help a few children learn to sound out words and then commit words to memory. Here's a great article from The Reading Genie that helps explain the process of learning to read words and becoming a fluent reader.
Feel free to share any learning to read stories in a comment.