Understanding how to hold books and turn pages, learning that we read left to right, and recognizing words on page is accomplished first and foremost by reading with your child!
So I will say it again, read everyday. Read lots of books. Read different types of books.
Draw attention to common words like “a”, “the”, “you” etc as well as words like “Mom”, “Dad”, their name and other important words to them. Write these words for them. I love using a magnetic writing board with my toddler on my lap for this. Find these words in books.
When reading with them, some of the time, point to the words as you read them. You don’t necessarily have to talk about it, just point to the words as you read across the page. Use their finger to point too. In this way, they will begin to understand we read left to right and that the words we say match the squiggles on the page.
Encourage your child to play with writing. Give them writing utensils and paper. Let them pretend to write a shopping list. Let them pretend to write their name. In the beginning, their writing will be scribbles. Eventually their writing will develop into recognizable writing. This has great information on writing development.
Talk about the front and back of a book before reading. Eventually play games where you try to start reading in the back of the book and then laugh at yourself because you are so mixed up. Your child may even try to correct you because he or she knows what is correct.
Have fun! Read! Play with words!
Read entire series here.