The Montessori method of teaching begins teaching language with sand paper letters and sounds. Once a child has mastered their initial letter sounds they then move on to what Montessori refers to as the Pink Blue and Green series of lessons. Teaching in this fashion builds confidence in the child and gets them reading and writing in a developmentally appropriate time frame. Here is an article that explains the elements of the PINK BLUE and GREEN series --- they appear this way in our classroom and children will be promoted to the next series once they have mastered the previous series.
Enjoy -- and try it out at home.