Times have changed drastically; teaching methodology of yesteryear is fossilized. Schools of today believe in newer and far more interesting approach towards teaching subjects. Gone are times when we used to mug up spellings of cat, rat, dog, etc without the understanding of phonics. Not anymore. Kids of today are being taught to spell out words using phonics and visual stimulation. This is a far cry from rote learning which was widely used earlier. Many schools like Amity, Apeejay and others in tier I cities use this technique to teach nursery kids the art of learning English language. What about tier II cities? What about your kid? How is he being taught in nursery and kindergarten? Let us interact and share our views on this. There is a good website about phonics: http://www.atozphonics.com/. You can have a fair idea from that. If you find it complicated, let me know; I'll post a simpler version of reading with phonics on my blog.
"It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education" - Albert Einstein