Once kids have learned the letters of the alphabet and that "a" sounds like apple, b like bat, and d like dog, they begin to be able to sound out simple words like b+a+d. With repetition they begin to recognize easy words at a glance, making reading more fun and allowing them to concentrate on sounding out words with more difficult phonics sounds. If they read often enough, eventually they recognize almost all words at a glance, only stopping to sound out new words or names they don't already know. If you don't believe it, take a look at the following paragraph that appeared on the Internet. It's not really research from Cambridge University, but it does illustrate my point:
Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
Read, read, read with your student, teaching a little phonics as you go along, until he/she recognizes almost all the words he sees. Your reader gets practice by doing some of the reading himself and repetition by following along word-by-word as you read, even if he can't sound out all the words independently. Within a few months you'll see dramatic improvement.
We have several of their resources ourselves and have listened to them repeatedly. It's hard to find good audio books, and even more difficult to find ones that are suitable for all ages and interests. The audio short stories and presentations we have from them are dramatized and great fun to listen to. We have all of the Adventures in Listening with Adventures in Research, short dramatized stories of various science history such as how the first paper was invented using wood pulp instead of cotton, inventing the lightbulb, etc. And the old Lassie radio shows are there...The Leatherstocking Tales, Frankenstein, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, etc. We love these stories and they make for great listening at night.
I like books, don't get me wrong, but there's something about being able to sit and listen to a well dramatized presentation of a story, too. When I was younger (and I'm not all that old, you know...) a local radio station was still on the air and they had a studio at our local Mall. Every Saturday night, from like 6-8 pm, they would play old radio shows. We listened to everything from Lassie, to Nancy Drew or The Hardy Boys, and so many more. It was fun. I looked forward to them coming on each week. Now, I can find a Christian station that might play some episodes of Adventures in Odyssey, but nothing of the old radio shows that my Grandmother might have listened to, the old commercials, the comedy time with Burns and Allen and so forth. And the classics...The Leatherstocking Tales, Frankenstein, The Lone Ranger, old time detective stories, Agatha Christie mysteries, etc.
It's just good clean fun. Check out Homeschool Radios Shows and visit their weekly freebie site as well for some good downloads and links worth knowing about.