if my husband or my friend were learning spanish (which i speak more or less fluently), and asked me what a word meant or how to pronounce it, i would not insult or demean him by trying to make him sound it out, or forcing him to guess the meaning or the origin of the word. i would simply tell him what it means, how to say it, and maybe even give an example of how the word is used if that seemed useful.
that is the same approach i use with ella as she learns to read english and expands her vocabulary. if she asks for more help with the word we look it up in the biggest book she's ever seen, my beloved random house dictionary. and if she doesn't ask for help, i don't offer it. force doesn't seem to be as good a motivator as desire.
the vocabulary she picks up this way is "out of order" from the way most scope and sequence lists suggest, but i don't know of a good reason to limit her learning.
by this method she was able to read this without my help:
the above is from a video game called "paws & claws: pet vet 2" which the dollies gave ella for three kings day. i'll do a review of it in a future post. suffice it to say: she loves play this game, and that pleasure prompts her to work hard to learn to read the instructions, figure out her necessary inventory, do all the purchasing, banking, and contracting, to run a veterinary practice that she has built from the ground up.
like i said: desire is a good motivator.