Phonics or Old Fashioned reading lessons?

My son knows his alphabets from the alphabet song and they teach him letters the old fashioned way i.e., without going into phonics, in his play school. This is throwing up some rather hilarious situations. He wants to know if B is for Ambi thatha (my dad, his grandpa). When I correct him he claims I am wrong because it is "AmBi" thatha.
So I deceided to introduce him to the concept of phonics.

I explained to him A makes the sound a like in Amma, Appa, Asimov (a robot in the news recently).
He asked like Ambi thatha?
Yes, like Ambi thatha.
like Thulasi Paati?
No, not thulasi paati, T is for thulasi paati.
But thulasi paati is your mom, so it should be A for thulasi paati
I was flabbergasted by this rather wackily logical argument ;)
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