Stupid question about reading.

How did everyone teach their toddlers how to read? My 3 year old can recognise pictures, and he can recognise letters, but I genuinely don't know how I'm meant to help him learn how to read properly? How do I get him to recognise words without the pictures? For now I've been using flashcards, and repeating the word over and over again, but then after he's been to bed we have to start from the beginning again. Any tips?

When I've asked friends with older children a lot of them have said that the nurserys/schools will do it, but surely it's a skill the parents should be teaching their kids?