By the time your child is ready for kindergarten or school, they should be able to recognize their own name and other simple written words. The sounds of each letter of the alphabet should be familiar to your child, and they should understand the principle of reading from left to right, which way to hold a book, and possibly even be starting to read three and four-letter words.
Ideally, children who have been introduced to reading modeling behavior enter kindergarten and first grade ready and eager to read on their own. For most children, the formal teaching of reading begins in these grades. Most educators, homeschool or otherwise, use a combination of phonics programs, worksheets, and actual books to teach reading. These are all tried and true methods and can result in reading success. A relatively new methodology, syllabics, extends the focus of phonics programs on the sounds associated with the consonant letters to simple rules for correctly using the variable sounds associated with the vowels.
When you feel your child is physically ready to write, have your child use a stick or finger to draw in sand, rice, pudding, shaving cream, paint or oatmeal. Make simple lines and shapes and ask your child to copy them.
With the new school year starting soon, many parents will be concerned about school readiness and looking for ways to help their children prepare for big school.