Methods change over the years. There was 'phonics' then 'whole language'.
Our 7-year old recently came home talking about phonograms (my spell check doesn't even recognize that word). "A the four letter A, E the two letter E, A the two letter A," were the phrases that were being chanted around the house and I didn't have a clue what she was talking about. But then, isn't the internet great!
In case any of you are feeling oldish and out of the loop, here is an excellent site that gives a thorough explanation of phonograms and also, how to write the alphabet (the modern way).