I have always been a reader. My mom used to bring stacks of children's library books home with her after work and I would get read to before naps and before bedtime. As soon as I could sit up and hold the books, I was holding books and looking at the pictures. I don't remember learning to read, I know that I went into kindergarten being able to read better than most of my classmates.
For birthdays and Christmas, I always asked for books or gift cards to book stores like Borders and Books-A-Million. Even now, that is mostly what I ask for. I would MUCH rather have a gift card to Barnes and Noble than have cable TV at home.