Exercise 1 (ages 4-5): I made sentences describing the location of cookies. Benny likes cookies. The idea here is to put in his mind the idea that reading has value. Not to teach him that, but to make him really value reading. These sentences had real value to him because if he read them, he could find his way to a cookie. Note that the flash cards here are a progression over a month or two. I started with "a cookie is on the bed" because Benny knew every word in that sentence.
Results: Awesome! I had to point at each word and ask him what it was (and sometimes help him). But after the first one, he was very eager. I believe it was around that time that he started asking me what difference words and sentences say.
Exercise 2 (ages 4-5): Simple sentences. I used flash cards of words that Benny knows in order to create simple sentences. At first, I pointed to each word and asked him what it was. Then I asked him to read the entire sentence.
Result: Awesome. He was able to read some simple sentences, beyond just descriptions of where cookies are.