Assuming children already have the vocabulary to be able to do this. EAL don't. I therefore use a mix of synthetic phonics and whole language approaches in my mixed grade 1/2, 97% German native-speaking class and it works wonders. We do a lot of matching words to picture anyway for extending vocabulary. Some words they can now decode. Others they memorise. I have children who started school 9 weeks ago now reading sentences in English complete with high frequency words and phonetically decodable words and with understanding. when they have more vocab and are able to communicate more, I will teach "tricky" word methods. Of course we need phonics to decode but there is no "one size fits all" model. You have to adapt to the needs of the children you have.