A key skill in learning to read is to understand that words have meanings – not just in books, but everywhere you see them. Experts call this print awareness, and it includes understanding how a book works.
Your child will develop this skill if you let them handle books and help you turn pages (and even chew on them when they are babies!). If you point to words as you read them, your child will understand that we read from left to right, front to back and top to bottom. Look at signs and words when you’re out and about, and have all sorts of reading material at home – newspapers and magazines as well as books.