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Last updated:

April 7, 2022


Unlimited Duration


This course includes:

Unlimited Duration

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

Unlimited Duration


Ever wondered about the psychology of literature or stories? Or how a certain narrative might change our attitude or perspective?

This course, What happens to you when you read? explores our relationship with books and the ways in which engaging with fiction in particular can change readers.

Research shows that as well as providing us with a form of entertainment, the activity of reading can bring benefits to our wellbeing in challenging times. People have experienced and explored these benefits throughout history.

A good story can entertain us, develop our creativity and imagination, and transport us to different fictional worlds, but it can change us psychologically as well.

As you work your way through this course, you will have the chance to participate in both reading and writing activities and experience for yourself what happens to you when you read.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • Understand some of the ways in which reading books can potentially transform you
  • Understand more about the psychological processes happening when you read
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the positive impacts of reading on mental wellbeing in some distressing times in history.

Course Curriculum

  • Introduction 00:15:00
  • Learning outcomes 00:10:00
    • Stories: what do you remember? 00:15:00
    • The order of a story 00:15:00
    • The benefits of being a bookworm 00:10:00
    • The experience of reading 00:15:00
    • Empathy 00:15:00
    • What happens to you as you read? 00:05:00
    • How do you relate to characters in a story? 00:15:00
    • Creative writing 00:15:00
    • Exploring the story world 00:20:00
    • How did you relate to the story world? 00:15:00
    • Story world and genre 00:10:00
    • Transportation and empathy 00:10:00
    • What did reading do to you? 00:10:00
    • Reading throughout history 00:25:00
    • Therapeutic benefits of writing and reading 00:15:00
    • Conclusion 00:15:00
    • Where next? 00:10:00

About the instructor

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Open University UK