Wow, whole careers have been built on answering today's BTT question ("How can you encourage a non-reading child to read?"). So I'm just going to say, up front, I'm really not at all qualified to say much on the subject – never having been a parent or a teacher. And the idea that I might have had to accept that my child "is a non-reader" brings a chill to my heart!
I've always found it very hard to understand a child who doesn't like to read. I didn't understand it, even when I was a child myself. I wanted to read, pretty much from the moment I saw words printed on a page and began to figure out that those strange looking marks meant something to the big people who looked at them. Some of my earliest memories – I would have been about two or three – are of sitting on my parents' bed with some of their books spread around me, and pretending to read the pages. There were no illustrations to grab my attention – just the printed words were enough to hold me enthralled.
I don't really have any memories of anyone teaching me, although I remember that my mother and grandmothers and aunts used to read to me a lot. But whatever the case, I know that when I finally turned six and went to school (Texas didn't have a lot of kindergarten or pre-school programs in those days), I could already read a bit. So I ripped through those primers with Tom and Susan and Spot and Pony, and headed right for all the "enrichment" readers, with real stories and adventures to lose myself in. And I've been an enthusiastic reader ever since.
But I really don't have a clue about how to instill that love of reading. I know that the old patterns and routines and systems probably don't work as well on the children of today – they simply don't look at reading in the same way we did when I was young. They have so many more opportunities for "escape" and entertainment. Also, reading is such a solitary activity (even if we're talking about reading for a book club, the reading itself is usually done alone) – and today's younger generations are decidedly social and communal organisms. I'm sad to have to say it (and I hate starting the day off on such a pessimistic note), but I really think that reading for pleasure, for the simple satisfaction of enjoying a great story, or visiting new places, or taking wisdom from the masters is most likely a dying phenomenon.
Of course, I hope I'm wrong!