The love of books!
While I believe it is never too late to fall in love with books and reading, the earlier children fall in love the better. From the very beginning children begin to make meaning, build vocabulary, and build content knowledge as they look at the pictures, read or listen to the text read to them, and discuss what they see and what they hear.
On a beautiful Saturday morning Brooklyn and I read the classic picture book, Clifford The Big Red Dog. During the picture walk Brooklyn turns the pages. On one of the pages she pauses, looks at me, and says, “she sleeping, she tired”. On another page she yells “lion” and then proceeds to roar like a lion. Each time, I acknowledge her meaning making and when possible I elaborate, adding to her vocabulary and extending her meaning.
No sooner do we come to the end when she gleefully screams, “AGAIN!”