The use of phonics is the best method to teach young people how to read. Children learn the symbols that describe the sounds of each letter and word combination. So if a child knows how the word is pronounced it is easier for the child to speak the printed word. That is what is called sounding out the word in question. Just showing the whole word only puts in the child’s mind a group of sysbols that are usually associated with an object, like the word “cat” being accociated with the animal in question. The child might only receive an out loud saying of the name and then is excected to repeat the name. Mayby that is too much for a child to absorb at one time.
By knowing how the word is sounded out, the meanings of each of those words is easier to understand as the child learns more and more words. To match pictures with words is like learning Chinese. So Too, the child is not able to retain and associate some of the pictures with those words. However, if a child can sound out the word in question, that child is more likely to recall its meaning from a past event, or remember when that word was used to refer to an object or action. Complicated explanations are required in place of just pictures. For example, how can you draw a picture of the word “go?” The child simply looks at the word and hears how it sounds but does not really have a glue to its meaning.
In regard to retaining the interest of the child, the faster a child learns how to speak and understand the meaning of those words, the faster that child will learn more words. So too, making fast progress raises the child’s desire to learn more. Now then is the time to introduce the child to a dictionary.
The child knows the symbols that expliain the sounds of those words. Then again, your child can simply pick out those words of interest and learn how to speak those words. Then again, truly smart children will also teach themselves how to spell those words, as they learn the meanings of those words. The point is that there must be an easy starting point on the path to speaking, reading, writing and the understanding of each of those words, if the child is to develop a vocabulary that can be easily understood by those who communicate with that child.
Yes, you can even reward that child for the good work, and that too will encourage further progress. People, no matter how old they are, clearly do not want to be thought of as a dummy, and will usually do all that they can so that they will not be considered to be a dummy. We old folks must help them to see the way to the light. In this case, we must help them to achieve the goal of enlightenment.