Here is a simple idea we started in our family this summer that really encourages reading in a very fun way. I encourage you to give it a try as well, and to recommend it to your patrons as they check out videos and books.
The new rule in our house is that no one is allowed to see the movie (whatever the movie happens to be) until AFTER they have read the book or had the book read to them. I started the rule this summer after a string of revelations that occured during my performances at libraries all across the state celebrating the Summer Reading Club in Texas.
Virtually all the children were familiar with both the movie and book versions of Chris Van Allsburg's "The Polar Express" as well as both the book and movie versions of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. But almost no one knew that Shrek was a book written by Caldecott winner William Steig. Similarly not many children were familiar with the fact that Caldecott winner "Jumanji" (also by Chris Van Allsburg), "Zathura" (Van Allsburg), Katherine Paterson's Newberry winning "Bridge to Terabithia" (1977), and a host of other very popular movie titles began as great books.
As an added bonus, this new rule has actually created a sort of family ritual that we all hope will continue for some time. With all the hype about the last book in the Harry Potter series coming out as well as the fifth movie in the series so close in conjunction, even my 5-year-old daughter has caught the bug.
She was interested, but could tell that the movie was probably a bit scary for her. So when she asked about seeing it, she seemed a little bit relieved when we told her that she would have to start with the first movie which wasn't as scary. So we began reading a chapter per night in book one with occasional "bonus" chapters read during the day if she finishes tasks we've assigned her.
My wife has been listening in as I read and tells me she is very excited about starting book 2, and I will admit that I don't read enough fiction and it was good to force myself to enjoy something just for fun, even if I "had" to do it for my daughter.