Some proponents of sight reading argue that English is not a phonetic language, so phonics isn’t a proper method for reading instruction. As proof they point to some of the many spelling and pronunciation inconsistencies that abound in English. While there certainly are irregular words and other anomalies, on the whole English is more phonetic than not. Many of the irregular words result from changes in spoken English over time, or words that have been absorbed into English from other languages.
It is more logical to start with the majority of cases where English is phonetic and teach the patterns, and then the exceptions and irregular words. And it is easier for the brain to associate the phonetic sounds with the letters that represent them, than to memorize thousands of separate word pictures.
I’m not saying this is always easily accomplished. For some students, reading remains an uphill battle. I remember one girl who lamented, “I hate English” as we were working on silent letters. Yet she was reading books, and not only reading, but reading so enthusiastically that she won a prize for selling the most books at her school’s book fair. The year before I started working with her, her parents had been told she would never learn to read.