Reading experts, such as Harvard Professor Catherine Snow, who led a study of children's reading problems for the United States National Academy of Sciences, recommend that teachers and parents take the best of phonics and whole-language approaches to teach children reading. This has been called 'balanced instruction'.
The best thing that a parent can do is sit down and read to your child - don't just buy the books. If the child's attention span is short when they are young, just point to the pictures and name them. Read the books over and over - this is so good for your child emotionally and educationally.