The ability to read and write are skills that generally take years to master. Although we traditionally think of learning to read starting with learning the alphabet, in truth it begins far before that.
The foundation of reading comes from the desire to communicate. This driving force can be supported and encouraged through frequent opportunities to see and use language. By reading, speaking, and modeling writing with our children early and often, we can ignite their curiosity.
The pictured "House" below details the path to reading, starting with the important foundation and moving towards the roof, where reading and writing are illustrated. Although we often focus on the end-product, or the "roof", it's important to remember that the strongest readers are not those who were rushed to begin reading, but those who have developed solid skills in all areas of language.