Forgot the phonics versus whole language debate. People have been teaching their kids to read at home for centuries, and there are many ways to do it.
One of the best methods I ever heard about came from an essay by author and former teacher Bailey White. White gave her first graders copies of a fourth-grade-level reader, Finding the Titanic by Robert Ballard (Compare Prices).
To help them get started, she "tipped in" simplified versions of each page -- but it didn't take long for them to figure out the original text in their rush to learn more details. White called it the "maritime disaster" method of reading instruction.
My new article shows you a few more ways to Teach Your Kids to Read. One technique I used could be termed "benign neglect:" my older son taught himself to read by watching too much Sesame Street while I was busy with his baby brother.
What methods have worked for you?