More than two fifths of teachers believe children are turned off reading for pleasure by the time they finish primary school, a survey has found.
It reveals a belief that today's youngsters have short attention spans, and prefer to spend time online rather than reading a novel.
The poll, which questioned around 400 secondary school English teachers, reveals concerns that youngsters are not interested in reading, and that many are failing to pick up a book outside the classroom.
Two thirds of those questioned said that reading is not seen as "cool" by pupils, according to the poll by Pearson.
And three quarters (77%) say that children's attention spans are shorter than ever before, while 94% said that pupils prefer to be using the internet rather than reading.
The poll reveals that teachers believe parents are not doing enough to help - 97% said parents should be encouraging their child to read more.
And three in four (74%) warned that pupils do not spend enough time reading outside the classroom.
The findings also show that teachers believe that recent book and film series like Twilight and The Hunger Games can fuel pupils' interest in reading.
Some 83% of teachers said that boys are likely to be engaged by fantasy novels, while 65% said the same for girls.
And 93% of teachers said that boys are likely to find horror books engaging.
The poll was commissioned to mark the launch of a new set of classroom reading books.
Children's author Frank Cottrell Boyce said: "It's worrying to think that so many young children are not being inspired to pick up a good book and get lost in a story. According to Unesco, the biggest single indicator of whether a child is going to thrive at school and in work is whether or not they read for pleasure.
"Clearly we need to make sure we are providing our children with the right types of books which stimulate their interest, capture their imagination and make them turn the next page.
"Our hope is that the HEROES series does just that by providing exciting, shorter stories in the genres we know young people love to read so that they go on to read bolder texts."
Schools minister Nick Gibb said: "The findings of this survey come as no surprise and shows that we need to continue our drive to encourage young people to develop a love of reading. In a world of so many distractions for young minds, the place of literature is more important than ever.
"That is why, in the coming academic year, we will be working with the Pearson Foundation and Booktrust to run a national schools reading competition to motivate pupils to read, share and enjoy books."