Looks like some teachers are finally starting to "get" it! Students have to be able to read books that they find interesting...pushing "boring" books on them before high school at the earliest can have devestating consequences.
Now of course, some children will need rather forcible prompting to pick up a book at all, but the books assigned to them should interest them. There is time enough for giants like "Moby Dick" later.
(And I think it's a rare high school student that could actually understand "Moby Dick." I know some who have read it, but they haven't enjoyed it.)
My mother's strategy was, for the most part, to buy good books and leave them on our shelves and eventually I'd read them. When I was very young she did have to strongly encourage me to read past the first chapter (which I would claim was boring) but I quickly learned that the books in our house were almost always interesting.
I also picked up an early love for classic stories through "The Great Illustrated Classics." Those may seem like a cop-out, but when you consider that I was 8 or 9 when I was reading the abbridged versions, it's not so bad. Especially because I fell in love with the stories enough to pick up the complete versions at the ages of 11, 12 or 13. Two of my favorite classes, "Pride and Prejudice" and "A Tale of Two Cities" were read this way.
As a homeschooler, I did not have a single formal literature class until I took "Brit Lit I" in college (as a 17-year-old), and I performed splendidly. Which I think goes to say that formal literature classes really are not needed or worth much until the last years of high school or in college.
If you say this is a biased assesment because I am obviously a huge bookworm, I'd like to point to my brother and sister. My sister loves reading, but she is more particular than I am. However she read and enjoyed what I consider Austen's hardest novel, "Mansfield Park" as a freshman in high school. No one told her to read it - she did it of her own prompting.
My brother really does not like the act of reading, but he is entirely capable of it and of appreciating what he does read. When he finally got down to reading "Harry Potter" this year, he rushed through the first three books nearly as fast as I did. And when his theatrical company put on "Pride and Prejudice" he showed himself capable of tackling the book (although I'll admit he only got half way).