Reading Outcomes Framework Toolkit

Social outcomes

Communication skills

Duncan (2010) examined the benefits of reading for pleasure for adult emergent readers showed participants reported improved confidence as well as improved personal skills and particular cognitive and communication skills.

Oakey (2007) evaluated the outcomes of based reading intervention and found that in addition to enhanced reading abilities, learners reported increased cognitive and communication skills.

An evaluation of Reading Hack (OPM, 2016) a programme of reading-inspired activity, peer-to-peer reading and volunteering, found that participants reported improvements in communication, interpersonal skills and teamwork. Participants felt they were better at holding prolonged conversations with new people; adapting their communication style depending on their audience; and articulating their ideas more effectively.


Hong and Lin (2012, Taiwan) found that taking part in a book club significantly improved parents' positive parent- child interaction.

A study by Greenwood and Hicks (2015) explored the reading habits of blind and partially sighted children and young people, finding that reading can play a part in filling the gaps left by loneliness and isolation. Another important finding for this group was the role that reading played in interacting with other people, reading together as well as discussing books.

An evaluation of the Bookstart Corner intervention aimed at particularly disadvantaged communities was conducted by Demack and Stevens (2013). Using baseline and follow up measures they found that those remaining in the programme throughout reported improved parental confidence and enjoyment, increased parent-child engagement and interaction and improved interest in their children.

Dowrick et al (2012) found that reading fiction is associated with higher levels of empathy and improved relationships with others.

Social and cultural participation

A study which surveyed 4,000 individuals from a diverse demographic through an online poll found that reading for pleasure is positively associated with a greater sense of community, a stronger feeling of social inclusion, a stronger ability to enjoy social occasions, and enhanced openness and talkativeness (Billington, 2015).

Mar et al. (2006) carried out a study to explore the link between reading and social abilities on a sample of 94 undergraduate students in Canada and found that reading fiction is a strong predictor of social ability.

In a study with emerging adult readers, Duncan (2010) found that emergent readers reported enhanced abilities to interact and engage in their communities. Libraries and reading circles emerged as locations for community cohesion, gathering people from diverse backgrounds in the local area and providing them with opportunities to exchange their ideas and worldviews.

A Prison Reading Groups evaluation (2013) demonstrated how prisoners who took part in reading groups reported an enhanced connectedness with a wider culture beyond prison.

Understanding self and others

Moyer (2007) explored the outcomes reported by recreational readers in the US. The most consistent outcomes reported were the ability to learn about the self and others, learning about diverse human populations and other cultures, and learning about other periods of history. Respondents who read more frequently had an enhanced ability to understand people's class, ethnicity, culture and political perspectives.

Kumschick et al (2014) explored the hypothesis that reading and discussing children's books with emotional content increases children's emotional competence. Using a literature-based intervention named READING and FEELING with 104 seven to nine year olds in Germany at an after-school care centre, they found that the programme enhanced emotional vocabulary and knowledge and understanding of emotions.

In a mixed-methods study from the United States which included a large-scale longitudinal survey, interviews and ethnography, Moje et al (2008) found that peer, family and online literature networks, along with the recreational reading activity itself, acted as principle ways for adolescents to develop self and social identities, including crucial gender and ethnic identities.

Vasquez (2005) conducted research exploring college students' ethnic identity taking part in a weekly literature class. Through focus groups and observation of 18 students she concluded that reading enhances students' ability to understand their own and others' ethnic backgrounds and the role they play in forming their identities.


  • 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.
  • Oakey, S. (2007). 'Practitioners leading research: Weaving reading for pleasure into the Skills for Life adult literacy curriculum', National Research and Development Centre for adult literacy and numeracy, Institute of Education.
  • OPM (2016) Evaluation of the Reading Hack Programme Year 1: 2015 - 2016, Interim Report. The Reading Agency.
  • Demack, S. and Stevens, A. (2013). Evaluation of Bookstart England: Bookstart Corner. Sheffield Hallam University/ BookTrust.
  • Dowrick, C., Billington, J., Robinson, J., Hamer, A., & Williams, C. (2012). Get into Reading as an intervention for common mental health problems: exploring catalysts for change. Medical Humanities, 38(1), pp. 15-20.
  • Greenwood, H. & Hicks, D. (2015) Assessing the Impact of Reading for Blind and Partially Sighted Young People, RNIB, The Reading Agency, Loughborough University.
  • Hong, Z.-R., & Lin, H.-s. (2012). Impacts of a Book Reading Club Intervention on Enhancing Parents' Positive Thinking. Journal of Health Psychology, 17(2), pp. 273-284.
  • Billington, J, (2015). Reading between the Lines: the Benefits of Reading for Pleasure, Quick Reads, University of Liverpool
  • Duncan, S. (2010). 'Understanding reading for Pleasure for emerging adult readers', NRDC, Institute of Education, London.
  • 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.
  • Prison Reading Groups (2013). 'What Books Can Do Behind Bars: Report on the work of the PRG 1999-2013'.
  • 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.
  • Moje, E., Overby, M., Tysvaer, N., & Morris, K. (2008). The complex world of adolescent literacy: Myths, motivations, and mysteries. Harvard Educational Review, 78(1), pp. 107-154.
  • Moyer, J. E. (2007). Learning from leisure reading. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 46(4), pp. 66-79.
  • Vasquez, J. M. (2005). Ethnic identity and Chicano literature: How ethnicity affects reading and reading affects ethnic consciousness. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 28(5), pp. 903-924.