I appreciate your concern and cause. But we cannot blame the children. We need to blame the collective psychology of the nation.
I cannot think of a day without reading. My parents inculcated that habit in me. Adults need to do that because after all children imitate initially the adults around them, their parents, sisters and brothers. I used to get Rs.10 as pocket money in my college days i.e. 1979 [now Rs. 64 is one dollar] for one full month for canteen and travel I used to save them and get books from old book shop. The cheapest books were on Eastern and Western philosophy, incidentally old books of Russell and Huxley were very cheap, I am great fan of both of them because of that. I am from India.
There must be special discount coupons for toys, food items etc for answering quiz on books by children. Parks must have a children books reading corner.
I used to sit and read with my daughter when she was just one year old in 1999 and now she is not only a voracious reader but the only thing she likes to buy are books. So adults have to start that habit even if they do not have. We also lack lot of clarity about what is education meant for? As you have rightly pointed out there are those unloving critics of every activity who would say can literacy contribute to intelligence? Are all literate people successful in life and all those types of tangential irrelevance to divert from the issue? It would be better if we taught our children to read than pray because then they would read everything and many things. I would also like to share two of my blog posts
1. UN’s WORLD BOOK and COPYRIGHT DAY 23rd April 2013-Why?
2. Formal Education is a necessity http://contentwriteups.blogspot.in/2015/04/education-what-it-is.html
I would like to go a step further and say those with able body and normal brain, above the age of 10, if they do not contribute through either any skill or literacy or interest to learn anything must be sent to either mental asylum or juvenile prison and both the parents must be must be given some rigorous imprisonment for three months each, even if they are divorced now.
Fortunately India is for better in this aspect, despite the economic poverty and excessive population and adverse media reports on this score.
Most employees in USA may end up being educated youth from India, China, Philippines, and some Arab nations. The mistake was in the collective national psyche which hero worshiped Bronze medals than brains. In our country we respected only saints and sages who imparted words of wisdom [a sign of literacy at least not miracle workers] and we accepted only educated and intelligent persons as our leaders starting from Gandhi, Ambedkar, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, P.V. Narasimha Rao to Modi.
Any activity to be sincerely followed must be ingrained as a part of the value system of a culture, tradition, probably religion as well.
In India, if a person is not intelligent or educated or skilled at something to earn living or of any use to the society in any capacity, he/she cannot get a spouse only by virtue of their physical beauty or ancestral wealth and cannot live on social security scheme either.