My kids love to read. Kindergarten helped prepare them for sounding out words that make sense and follow the rules, and it gave them a list of "sight words" to memorize, so they have a good base, at this point, when they pick up one of their books.
But the English language is cruel and makes no sense, and this has never been clearer than now, when I have to explain to a five-year-old why sometimes the OU makes an oww sound and sometimes it makes an oh sound and sometimes it makes an ooooui sound. Or however you would type out the sound made in would, or should or could. And for that matter, what about wood? Or though and rough. WHAT IS GOING ON.
When my kids first start the book, I have them think about it, and use context and picture cues. "What do you think this word is? It's a weird one!"
They can do this for about the first ten minutes of reading.
After that, I give them hints. "In this word the ea together make an eee sound. Can you sound it out now?"
That gets us through the next 20 minutes.
After that, they're pretty tired, and a bit frustrated (and they're pretty good readers if I do say so myself, but it is frustrating. The language is frustrating.) Anyway, after they're tired but still reading, I just give them the word.
Them: "read, read, read, read, read...what's this word?"
Me: "That's machine."
This way, they practice, but they don't get annoyed enough to put the book down. It's working well so far.