How can you encourage a non-reading child to read? What about a teen-ager? Would you require books to be read in the hopes that they would enjoy them once they got into them, or offer incentives, or just suggest interesting books? If you do offer incentives and suggestions and that doesn’t work, would you then require a certain amount of reading? At what point do you just accept that your child is a non-reader?
I can only speak from the experience i have as being the oldest of 5 kids. The youngest two in our family are 12 and 18 years younger than me so i don't know that their experiences match up with me and the two brothers closest to me. Our habits were built in the 80's; we didn't get a Nintendo or a vcr until we were 12, 10 and 8 respectively. we had 1 tv, in the living room, and the parents used that in the evenings. The three of us were used to entertaining ourselves with reading, playing together with toys or board games, running around outside, riding bikes, that sort of stuff. So, limiting screen time, for the whole family, would be one thing i will try to do when i do have kids. It certainly couldn't hurt.
I also saw both my parents reading when i was a child and i don't remember ever being restricted or stopped from reading a particular book. They had very different tastes so we were exposed to lots of different novels. My mom read a lot of romance and historical fiction with a few mysteries thrown in, while my dad was more hard sci-fi, thriller/spy/war novels, and a few classics. I don't know that i ever saw either of them pick up a book the other was reading. BUT i also never remember either of them ridiculing the other's choices. I know that we were given books they felt we would like, as well as being encouraged to read challenging things.
My parents read to us and i remember reading to my brothers. When the younger one was in first/second grade i was in fifth/sixth and i often was the one to listen to him do his reading homework. Hopefully i wasn't too hard on him. Do you remember the storybooks that had a record with them that read the story? we probably had a dozen or so of those, like Indiana Jones and Star Wars, and would listen and act out the story rather than reading along in the book. Maybe having an active way to discover a story could help kids value stories themselves.
Of the three of us, my oldest brother and i are the heaviest readers while the younger one does read but with kids 5 and 3 has a lot less time to do it. My parents still read too. Maybe it is just in our genes?