One way that has proved fruitful and delightful is word-building with colorful phonics tiles.
Right now we're working on long vowel sounds, which can get confusing for a new reader to get that -ie and -igh make the same sound. Here's what's worked for us:
1. Make flashcards showcasing the phonics sound you're teaching.
Right now we are working on long u sounds.
2. Introduce phonics tiles with individual letters and letter combinations.
You don't need to have this exact set; I've made my own phonics tiles with construction paper when my set was MIA.
For long u, we had several consonants out as well as the -ui- tile, the -ue- tile, and the u and e tiles.
3. Bring out one word from the flashcard deck and ask your student to make that word with the phonics tiles.
My little guy usually starts seeing a pattern in all this phonetic mess and starts building his own words. At this point, I think it's more than okay to let them explore these sounds and experiment with constructing words. In this way, learning to read becomes more like playing Legos, which my son is always willing to do.
4. Work on an assignment that allows them to utilize their new discoveries.
I usually prepare for this in the reverse order: I look over the worksheet and select words to write on flashcards. Once the flashcards are made, I pull out the appropriate letter tiles and keep them in a sandwich bag until we're ready to play.