I e-mailed Hasbro and asked them to send me some word games and I'm really glad I did. (I have no affliation with Hasbro, by the way.) I tried Boggle Jr. with the six-year-old I'm working with, and it was really helpful.
Boggle Jr. has a set of large dice with letters on the sides. And it has flash cards - a picture of a car with the word "CAR" underneath it, for example.
A holder sets the flash card in front of the child, who finds the appropriate letters and builds the word using the dice. You can also hide the word and get the child to spell the word just from the picture.
There are tons of ways to use the game, depending on what the child needs to learn. I used them to talk about vowels. He had to find the vowels and tell me what each one says.
We also put letters together to discuss what the letter pairs say (th, sh).
What's so great about it is that the dice are bulky and just perfect for little hands. There's a game aspect because the child has to turn the dice over to find the right letters. And the flash cards allow for four levels: three-letter words and four-letter words, with and without looking at the words.
I'm excited about this new discovery because it's going to make teaching easier, and learning more fun. I think there will be a limitation - for instance, my own eight-year-old wanted to play with it, but it was clearly far too young for him. However, the six-year-old had a great time playing with it.
Update on my sessions with the six-year-old. They're going great, and we're both having fun. But guess which book he picked - from the 15 on offer? SpongeBob Squarepants. Oooooof course.