In establishing a literate environment for your child, it's important to demonstrate the behavior of a reader. By modeling reading skills and reading for pleasure, you're teaching your child far more than you know. One of the most interesting recent scientific developments has brought us new information about mirror neurons, which are specialized connections in the brain that learn skills and activities by watching others practice them.
It can be hard enough finding time to read for pleasure whether you have children or not, but in terms of helping your baby become an interested reader as she grows, you can demonstrate a healthy respect and love for the written word by surrounding yourself with reading material of all types, visits to the library and other readerly activities. A family that loves reading is a family that grows readers.
Of course, nobody's suggesting that you turn off the TV or avoid books on tape. Those things also have value. But enjoying quiet time, reading aloud with your children and discussing topics of interest with them, is a great way to establish early reading habits. We spend so much time in our children's early lives cuddling and playing with them, and taking advantage of those pleasurable feelings by adding books into the mix creates a connection between reading and pleasure that is one of the first steps toward making words and reading a fun experience.