Here is the conclusion of an article by Daniel Willingham ‘How did we learn to read? Studies reveal best teaching methods for kids’:
“The data indicated that 1st graders read by sound. With each successive year, kids showed more and more evidence of using the spelling of words in their reading. But there was no diminution of the influence of sound. Experienced readers use both the sound and the spelling mechanisms.
This result fits with the following view of reading: most kids will learn to read by learning to sound out words. With practice over the course of months and years, they develop an increasing number (and increasingly robust) mental representations that allow them to identify words by their appearance, i.e., by their spelling. These representations form as a consequence of reading practice and don’t require any special instruction. This general view accords with other behavioral data showing that methods of reading instruction that emphasize phonics have an edge over other methods.”
To read the whole article click on link: