I can't tell you how many times I would discuss these things with parents who were struggling with unwilling readers: Take your kid to a bookstore. Let them pick out a book. Or, Do you read? Let them see you reading. They notice, I promise.
And now the National Literacy Trust (based out of the UK, but still extremely applicable to us here) has gone and done it! They've recently published a study with fancy statistics & all that proves that kids who have been to bookstores and kids whose parents read are more likely to be readers themselves.
Read the full article here.
There's some important implications here. Do you want your kids to be better readers? Being a better reader means doing better in school--in all subjects! Not just English! Reading is in all subjects: science, math, history, etc. So, follow with me for a second on a little trail of logic: if they're better readers in school they get better grades. If they get better grades, they have an easier time getting into (and doing well in) college. If they go to college (or some other post-high school education) then they'll have an easier time getting a good job. A good job is a great thing, especially in today's economy. Kids/students will have a better chance of being successful if they've mastered this oh-so-important skill: reading. And it can all start with something as simple as a trip to a local bookstore on a lazy afternoon. Or letting your kid see you reading. (Side benefit to that: you get to escape for a bit into a book and not feel guilty about other things you should be doing. You're helping your kids out, right?)
So be seen reading. Go to a bookstore. I promise, it will help those less-than-willing readers.