I swear my first daughter taught herself to read. I literally turned around one day and there she was reading (and writing too). Sure I provided plenty of references to letters and the sounds they make in the world around us and I read to her often, but she really took it from there. She reads often and to herself.
My second daughter came to reading differently. Thank goodness she idolizes her older sister so that has helped make her foray into the reading world a bit smoother. However she loves to read aloud to someone else. This started as turning pages and blabbering and then grew into turning pages of entire books and telling a nonsense story. But she definitely prefers reading aloud (I am thinking she is like her mommy and likes the social aspect). I have yet to find her reading to herself like her big sister. One thing they BOTH enjoy doing is taking part in reading aloud to family and friends using Be There Bedtime Stories. It is a novel way to get them to do something we are asking them to do every day. They do love it and for that I am grateful.
Turning words on a page into an enjoyable past-time is one of the most important goals for all teachers and parents. If we can bring each child to find their motivation to read we have accomplished a HUGE task. For teachers this means meeting that goal with a number of different learning styles in one classroom daily. There are many, many balls in the air at one time. It is not the reading instruction of yesterday that is for sure!
If you have children you can probably relate to (and marvel at) how differently your children are as people. Sometimes it is hard to believe they are from the same set of parents! One thing is for certain; all children do not learn to read in the same way.