PHONICS. It's Practical.
Teaching phonics is simple. In the days of one-room schoolhouses, young teachers taught all their students to read with phonics while also teaching the other R's to older students.
You can teach a beginning reader easily with "Phonics Pathways" by Dolores Hiskes or with Don Potter's free online copy of Hazel Loring's Blend Phonics. The best method for teaching a beginning student to read is probably Noah Webster's Blue Backed Speller, also known as The American Spelling Book. It teaches spelling and reading at the same time. You can also use the online beginning reading lessons at starfall.com. The lessons at Starfall are not complete, but they are free and are a fun way to start.
A remedial reading student can become a proficient reader in 6 to 30 hours using the program on 40L's How to Tutor page or the online phonics lessons. You could to follow either of these methods with "Rx for Reading: Teach Them Phonics," by Dr. Ernest Christman or with "We All Can Read" by James Williams for students who need more reinforcement. You can also use the American classic, Webster's The American Spelling Book.
A complete list of good books and videos for teaching reading can be found on our Phonics and Spelling book page or at the National Right to Read Foundation, or NRRF. (Not all phonics programs teach everything you need to know to learn to read well. Also, just because a program has phonics in its name or is well known does not mean it is a good phonics program.) You should use a phonics program recommended on this website, Don Potter's website, or a phonics program recommended by the NRRF.