My 15 month-old daughter loves books. You could put her in a room full of the most expensive, fancy toys available and one book, and she would sit and "read" the book. She can't read yet, of course. But she loves to be read to. She also enjoys flipping through the pages of a book and looking at the words and pictures. She likes to get out all her books (which is a sizable pile and growing) and sit with them on the floor and flip through them one at a time. Her concentration when she does this is amazing.
We read to her every day, and have been doing so since she was very young. Throughout the day, she will come to me with a book and climb in my lap so I can read it to her. It is also part of her nightly bedtime routine (when Daddy reads to her). Reading the words of a book is just the beginning. Each page offers opportunities to increase her vocabulary and comprehension. I like to ask questions or add to the story. "Where is the red flower?" "Do you see the little girl planting a garden?" My daughter loves to point at things, so we take advantage of this by getting her to point at objects on each page. Sometimes, you don't even have to read the words to enjoy the story.
We have recently started going to the library regularly for story time and to check out books. She loves to have fresh material. We have not yet had to return any books; we just keep bringing more home. I'm hoping she won't be upset or miss a book she has become fond of. I was relieved to see that the board book selection was pretty beat up already. A 15 month old can be tough on books. I didn't want to have to worry about their condition when we took them back.
My daughter's choice of cartoons is even influenced by her love of books. We limit TV time in our house, but do often have PBS on in the mornings. Her favorite show is called "Super Why." It is about a group of Super Readers who turn to the messages of well-known children's books to solve their everyday problems. The characters include: Alpha Pig, with Alphabet Power; Wonder Red, with Word Power; Princess Presto, with Spelling Power and Super Why, with the Power to Read. My daughter smiles from ear to ear when that show comes on, and how can I object?
Establishing an early love of books sets a critical foundation for a child. I saw a report recently that reading to your child just 15-20 minutes a day during the pre-school years has a significant impact on their success in school later on. Not to mention it is a great bonding opportunity. As your child grows older and more active and independent, you can still have those quiet times when you cuddle and read a book together.
I have always loved books, and am so pleased to see that trait has been passed on to my daughter. She also clearly has inherited her Daddy's love of all things electronic, but that's OK. It will probably serve her well in life, too...