My little one began reading at a very basic level at 4 years old. We kept the reading simple using level AA and Level A readers from ReadingA-Z.com as well as leveled readers from ThinkCentral / StoryTown. The decodables from both of these websites are quite awesome too! With a little time, you can acquire these materials for free. I shall let you figure that out on your own.
My biggest complaint with all the phonics maniulatives available is that the individual sounds that vowels make could not be explained from one word to the next.
At first glance, it may seem complicated. Let me assure you, I have never been happier with a phonics manipulative. My 5 year old went from being frustrated to reading flashlight, heart and ruler with ease. I am no longer explaining why the letter “A” said this or said nothing. It is predetermined by the color of the vowel.
We pick 2 or 3 words a day as they related to the Highlights Magazines puzzles we are working on. I prepare the word using the color coded toolbox. She reads it. Then, I ask her to check the spelling against the magazine. She is learning to read, sound out words, use phonics and spell all at the same time. The best part, it’s easy and fun.
For us, this toolbox has been an amazing tool. All my old manipulatives are completely useless next to this. Here is the Link to download the Color Coded Phonics ToolBox PDF. I cannot find the craft case I used online to link for you.