I would have purchased Delightful Reading, but DD took off with reading about 6 months before it was available. The tools we used were:
- a magnetic white board with blue magnetic tiles, from Rainbow Resources
- some word wheels I printed off of a website that introduced different word families (ex. "and" had band, land, sand, hand, etc.) They were free when I printed them off, but now there is a cost to access the website.
- books from the library. At first things we used books like Little Bear and Frog and Toad readers (and Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa, because Grandma bought her one and she likes horses and pretending to be a cowgirl). However, she learns quickly and it was only a few months before we moved up to books on the FIAR booklist, simply because they were enjoyable and had a good mix of phonics and words she could learn as sight words. The Treadwell readers would be an excellent choice, though! Wish I had known they were free at that time.
We started a few months before DD turned 5, because she was blending three letter words while playing with her bathtub letters (cat, hat, sat, dog, bed) and asked me if she could learn more words that were in books. I printed off a handful of the word wheels, with three letter word families. I also used the tiles to build word families and introduce common sight words. After about a month, we started introducing readers.
We only spent about 15 minutes a day on the subject. Some days, she would read a chapter from a Frog and Toad reader. Other days, we would use the letter tiles to play a game, where she would spell five words for me to read and I would spell out five words for her to read. (We chose them from the reader/book she was working on that week.) Other days, she would choose three word wheels and we would go through those. We dropped the word wheels after a few months, when she had a mastery of those words. DD wanted to drop the game after about six months, and ever since then, she's just been reading to me from library books each day (and on her own during quiet time in the afternoon, when I'm at work and she's at home with DH. He can hear her reading aloud quietly in her bed.)
DD just turned 6 last week, and I would say she's reading at about an early 3rd grade level, based on AR levels listed at our local public library.
We don't do any formal grammar or spelling, just reading and copywork. We do, however, incorporate them into parts of our everyday life. For example, we talk about starting a sentence with a capital letter and choosing to end it with the appropriate punctuation (a period, question mark, etc.) while she is writing a thank you note, or a letter to a pen pal, etc. And she learns some spelling when she volunteers to write out part of the grocery list (eggs, milk, etc, flour, etc.)