I always find it funny that schools explain all of the classics and have students read books that they have picked hoping to broaden their views of the world and their love of books; when in reality, it only makes children rebel against the idea of books in general.
This year I've had to read A Doll's House, Niels Klim's Journey Under the Ground, and The Metamorphosis. Don't get me wrong, it is great to read classics and to understand where modern literature came from and how the world has changed both socially and physically, but isn't it better to cultivate a child's love for reading at times as well.
Maybe give two assigned books then leave two other books, with certain expectations or requirements - page number or from a bestselling list- but not so many that the children cannot find a book they like.
To scare the children away only leads to another generation of book haters.
I think the first step is to make reading enjoyable - in school.