Even more than other kinds of learning, literacy is a wholistic experience. What that means is that it involves our whole selves. From the visual sense of letters and their sequence, to the meaning that words make when they come together, to the sense of pride at a storybook read for the first time or a beautiful piece of writing you've created, language is at the heart of everything that we do.
Literacy isn't about retreating from the world; it's about engaging with it. Just think of all the ways reading and writing -- comics, menus, guest lists, to-dos, stories, newspapers, online articles and games -- come into your life every day. If you think about it, bringing your child into this arena couldn't be easier. Think about how many street signs, TV ads and stories you see: The world is your storybook.
When reading with a child, you can bring the joy of reading into the context of things the child is already grappling with: By looking at the cover of a book and asking what she thinks will happen inside, or simply by discussing the images, you connect reading with anticipation and cause/effect skills.
By asking which character was her favorite, or whether she's satisfied with the ending of the story, you bring your child into the storytelling process in a way that will make her more excited about learning what happens next. By involving the child in the storytelling process, either by building on a story you're reading together or by creating new stories, you create a rich, imaginative environment that will make any future hurdles much less fearsome.