Children are fascinated by how a book looks and feels. They see how easily you work with it, and they want to make it work, too. When your toddler watches you handle books, she begins to learn that a book is for reading, not tearing or tossing around. Before she is three, she may even pick one up and pretend to read, an important sign that she is beginning to know what a book is for. As your child becomes a preschooler, she is learning that:
A book has a front cover.
A book has a beginning and an end.
A book has pages.
A page has a top and a bottom.
You turn pages one at a time to follow the story.
You read a story from left to right.
As you read with your four- or five-year-old, point these out. Read the title on the cover. Talk about the picture there. Point out where the story starts, and later where it ends. Let your child help turn the page. When you start a new page, point to where the words of the story continue and keep following them with your finger. These things take time to learn. But when your child learns them, she has solved some of reading's mysteries.
Source: Helping Your Child Become a Reader, U.S. Department of Education