Mistakes Parents Make in Their Children's Literary Education

Forcing children to read is one of the biggest literary education mistakes parents can make. Learn more here!
Mistakes Parents Make in Their Children's Literary Education

Last update: 04 August, 2020

Some parents love to read, while others simply want their children to get into the habit of reading due to the many benefits literary education has. However, and despite what many people believe, this habit or taste for reading should be acquired autonomously.

That’s why the tendency to force children to read is one of the biggest mistakes that parents tend to make. If you do so, instead of promoting a taste for reading in your children, you’ll accomplish the opposite.

Although it’s true that this practice must be autonomous, you can use some guidelines to encourage reading and know about others that are totally inappropriate. Today, we’ll talk about this second group of guidelines but also offer some of the former.

Parental literary education mistakes

1. Forcing your children to read

The most common, remarkable, and important literary education mistake is demanding that your children read. Forcing children to read is a serious mistake! If you do an action or activity out of obligation, this can lead to a bad experience and, therefore, to repudiation.

If you’re in the group of parents who love to read, you just have to show it to your children on a daily basis. Children “copy” everything they see around them and, even more so, parents’ words and actions since, in most cases, they’re their role models.

Mistakes Parents Make in Their Children's Literary Education

On the other hand, if you don’t like to read, you should be aware that you can’t demand from a child what an adult doesn’t do.

2. Criticize their book choices

Another of the most common literary education mistakes parents make is criticizing their children’s book choices. You must be aware that, as there’s such a big age difference between parents and children, their tastes aren’t the same. Thus, children may not like the books their parents like.

For children to instill the habit of reading, it’s very important for you to give them total freedom of choice of the books they read. Criticizing their book choices will only make your children quit reading. After all, the important thing is for them to have a predisposition to read, regardless of the type of book they choose.

3. Not taking advantage of reading, another literary education mistake

Without a doubt, children’s books are very fun. And that’s the element that parents should use to get their children’s attention.

In the current era we live in, there are many different books you can use as tools to motivate children to read. Illustrated albums, pop-up books, or seek-and-find books are some amazing options.

It’s as simple as choosing a moment a day, or even a week, to enjoy these fantastic books as a family, as they’re different but equally suitable alternatives to traditional novels.

Mistakes Parents Make in Their Children's Literary Education

4. Children’s literature as a reward, not as punishment

Do you remember a child who was forced to watch TV as punishment? Surely you’ve discovered the opposite situation, since television is a hobby and a moment of fun and relaxation for them. And exactly that’s what you should also achieve with reading: make it a fun moment for them so they consider it a reward.

On many occasions, the punishment parents impose on their children is to make them read a certain book. The moment an activity becomes an obligation, children hate it and won’t do it of their own free will.

5. Not showing your children what children’s literature can offer them

Literature includes many areas that can attract children’s attention and, thus, encourage reading. Although many of the children’s films they like so much are related or based on literary works, this is an aspect most children are unaware of.

Therefore, you can play with this aspect and look for the differences between the book and the movie and make the book attract their attention.

Without a doubt, children love storytelling, which is an activity totally related to children’s literature. Take advantage of the love that children have for these stories and choose the book they’re based on.

Another possibility that you have is to enjoy some nice family time by making completely personalized bookmarks.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • López-Valero, A., Encabo-Fernández, E., & Jerez-Martínez, I. (2013). La literatura infantil como instrumento para la acción educativa y cultural. Reflexiones sobre su imposibilidad basadas en la sombra del adulto. Educacion XX1.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.