This article from the Telegraph is today's topic of discussion.
Reader's Digest claims that 1 in 20 "youngsters" have never read a book. EVER.
The fact that is a poorly constructed survey with much too small of a sample size is irrelevant; I think the findings ARE relevant. It is no secret that literacy is rapidly in declining, and if this is even a little bit accurate, it's terrible.
For the record, parents are NOT blaming themselves unnecessarily. It is absolutely their responsibility to get their children interested in reading. When the child gets to school it is still their responsibility, but it is also the teacher's as well. We need teachers that can pick good books, and teach them well so the kids enjoy reading, and don't get forever turned off it by something like The Scarlet Letter.
Finally, this article states that the biggest influence on these kids (what age, I don't know, because they label them with a generic colloquialism) is their peers. I think the answer to this conundrum is quite simple- if every parent and teacher focuses on getting kids excited about reading, they will likely see other kids excited about reading, and then we can exponentially increase the excited-about-readingness in general.
So, people, let's stop making reading something that we just do, and start making reading something that we do for fun.