A love of reading isn't necessarily an inborn trait, but rather a habit that is built over time. And the ability to read well is also taught, starting at home when your children are just babies. Whether your child is struggling to read or your child is too young to read, now is the perfect time to incorporate these steps into your life.

1. Read

From the time your child is born, you should be reading to him. It might not seem like he's paying attention or understanding, but you'll be creating a habit and a routine. Before every nap and at bedtime, read a book or two. Read while you are nursing. Sing the words of the book. Make books and words a normal part of your child's everyday life and keep it that way.

2. Don't Just Sing the ABCs

The ABC song is great for teaching your child the letters, but try pointing out the letters as you sing them. It's like putting a face to a name and your child will begin pointing out letters everywhere you go.

3. Practice the Sounds

Once your child has mastered the names of the letters, start working on the sounds. As you read an alphabet book, point to the letter and say the sounds it makes followed by a word.

4. Invest in a Program

There are a lot of "teach your child" to read programs out there. Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is a popular one, but our favorite is from Preschool Prep. The DVDs do a great job of teaching the letter sounds and my two year old daughter picked up on it right away. They also make DVDs for digraphs and blends as well as sight words. They are really cute and fun and all three of my children love them.

5. Check Out the Sight Words

Knowing sight words is key to becoming a strong reader. Make your own flash cards or just write them out with sidewalk chalk for a fun game.

6. Practice, Practice, Practice

No one becomes great at anything without practice. Let your child take over reading at bedtime. It might take longer than when you read, but your child will feel accomplished and his self-esteem and confidence with reading will grow. Help him sound out the letters to make the word. This is when knowing the sight words and the letter sounds as well as digraphs and blends will help immensely.