I'd just like to second Russ' serious reply. Around here they had this
program where students and their parents went to the school once a week
for a kind of group reading, and they have done some other things like
trying get studentsreading with their families at home on weeknights. I
think they actually had a raffle of somekind--kids got tickets by having
their parents/family read with them, one ticket for each night.
Interesting how each culture takes an idea and makes it over in a way
that it can understand. Anyway, my advice would be for initiatives that
grounded reading in social contexts that were rewarding, in reading that
gave the student fun/interest/excitement, and in writing that helped them
explain their world (from poetry to handbooks about how the school gets
run). Oh, yes, and email to distant family and friends!