Reading Outcomes Framework Toolkit

Personal outcomes

Being open-minded

Vezzali et al (2015) found that extended contact via reading improved attitudes towards stigmatized groups (immigrants, homosexuals and refugees) through experimental interventions using the best-selling Harry Potter book series.


Kelly and Kneipp (2009) explored the relationship between reading for pleasure and creativity, with 225 university students in the US, concluding that pleasure was significantly positively correlated to creativity.

Djikic et al (2013) discovered that participants assigned to read a short story experienced a significant decrease in self-reported need for 'cognitive closure', a need found to be associated with decreased creativity. The effect was particularly strong for participants who were habitual readers suggesting that reading fictional literature could lead to better procedures of processing information generally, including those of creativity.


Mar et al (2006 and 2009, Canada) found reading print fiction is a strong predictor of empathy, controlling for openness, tendency to be drawn into stories and gender. The findings suggested understanding characters in a narrative fiction is related to understanding of real life peers.

Research in Germany with 7 to 9 yr olds found that children's literature can be used as a model for analyzing emotional processes and reading can support emotional development in this age group - particularly for boys (Kumschick et al., 2014).

A study by Greenwood and Hicks (2015) explored the reading habits of blind and partially sighted children and young people, finding that reading builds empathy and understanding.


Duncan (2010) examined the benefits of reading for pleasure on emerging adult readers. Focus groups and questionnaires with two reading groups in Greater London showed that participants felt increasing confidence about their ability to learn and to express themselves.

The Reading Agency's (2003) evaluation of its Chatterbooks programme, running children's book groups in schools and libraries since 2001, found self and parent reported improvements in confidence and self-esteem, listening skills, self-expression and relating to other people.


Morris Hargreaves Macintyre (2005) explored the impact of reading for pleasure on emerging adult readers. The study highlighted that participants reported increased self-esteem and confidence in their abilities.

An online poll of over four thousand people from a representative sample in the UK revealed that those who read for pleasure have higher levels of self-esteem and a greater ability to cope with difficult situations. (Billington, 2015).

When running a small scale and qualitative evaluation of their work, Prison Reading Groups found a positive association between reading for pleasure and the development of transferable skills including cognitive abilities, communication and self-esteem (Prison Reading Groups, 2013).


  • Vezzali et al (2015). The greatest magic of Harry Potter: Reducing prejudice. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 45 (2), pp. 105-121.
  • Djikic et al (2013). Opening the Closed Mind: The Effect of Exposure to Literature on the Need for Closure. Creativity Research Journal , 25 (2), pp. 149-154.
  • Kelly, Kathryn, and Kneipp, Lee (2009). Reading For Pleasure And Creativity Among College Students. College Student Journal, 43(4), pp. 1137-1144.
  • Greenwood, H. & Hicks, D. (2015) Assessing the Impact of Reading for Blind and Partially Sighted Young People, RNIB, The Reading Agency, Loughborough University.
  • Kumschick, I. R., Beck, L., Eid, M., Witte, G., Klann-Delius, G., Heuser, I., et al. (2014). READING and FEELING: the effects of a literature-based intervention designed to increase emotional competence in second and third graders. Frontiers in Psychology, 5.
  • Mar, R. A., Oatley, K., & Peterson, J. B. (2009). Exploring the link between reading fiction and empathy: Ruling out individual differences and examining outcomes. Communications-European Journal of Communication Research, 34(4), pp. 407-428.
  • Mar, R. A., DeYoung, C. G., Higgins, D. M., & Peterson, J. B. (2006). Self-Liking and Self-Competence Separate Self-Evaluation From Self-Deception:
  • Associations With Personality, Ability, and Achievement. Journal of Personality, 74(4), pp. 1047-1078.
  • Duncan, S. (2010). 'Understanding reading for Pleasure for emerging adult readers', National research and Development Centre for adult literacy and numeracy (NRDC), Institute of Education, London.
  • The Reading Agency (2003), Chatterbooks Evaluation, unpublished evaluation.
  • Billington, J, (2015). Reading between the Lines: the Benefits of Reading for Pleasure, Quick Reads, University of Liverpool
  • Morris Hargreaves Macintyre, (2005). 'Confidence All Round: The Impact on Emergent Adult Readers of Reading for Pleasure, The Vital Link', Museums and Libraries Association.
  • Prison Reading Groups (2013). 'What Books Can Do Behind Bars: Report on the work of the PRG 1999-2013'
  • The Reading Agency (2003), Chatterbooks Evaluation, unpublished evaluation.