It doesn't necessarily sadden me that kids are less interested in reading these days, but it doesn't surprise me either. I was never into reading a whole lot, and I blame it mostly on school forcing me to read literary garbage like To Kill a Mockingbird. Some literature I enjoy, and I love to write, but when I had to read something I didn't understand or that was sickeningly stupid or boring, it certainly was a chore. This is just me, but I find my train of thought will shift when I try reading novels and I'll forget what happened previously in the story. When the chapters will trail off into a whole new sub-story, I forget what already happened. When I read a novel, I feel like I'm reading a ton of different stories. That doesn't help when you have a cumulative test on the entire book. This is why I prefer short stories - if anything climactic happens, it usually happens often enough to keep my attention. Novels usually have such wide gaps between exciting moments that I rarely have interest enough in them to continue reading the boring stuff. I realize every paragraph can't be exciting, but when you go a hundred pages without anything interesting happening, the book starts to look better on the shelf than in your hands.
Some of it may have to do with the parents - when the parents don't read, the kids won't want to read. Also, if schools start making kids read material that's actually good or makes sense, more people might get into reading. Some books I read during my academic life I enjoyed, like "The Outsiders", "Medea", and "Number the Stars". I wouldn't read them again, but I sort of liked those. My problem is I'm a visual learner - I prefer film, animation, or comics/graphic novels to convey a plot rather than words. My miniscule book collection consists mostly of comics and manga, a book fo Poe's work, and two non-fiction/informative books; I also enjoy reading fanfiction because I can easily picture the characters in my mind (because I know what they look like already). Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying reading is bad, and I really wish I had the ability to get into a story like my friends can...but for the most part, reading has pretty much always felt like a chore to me.