Reading for fun develops an essential life skill

Thursday 25 Aug 2016

Lisa LimbrickA Charles Sturt University (CSU) lecturer has published a book she hopes will help address poor literacy by encouraging the enjoyment of reading at a young age.

Dr Lisa Limbrick (pictured), associate lecturer in the CSU School of Teacher Education in Bathurst, wrote her new book Tom Topp and the Great Adventure Swap to encourage children not only to read well, but to enjoy reading.

"I've witnessed the challenges faced by students who enter higher education with poor literacy skills, and I believe kids should grow up having fun with reading," Dr Limbrick said.

Dr Limbrick emphasised that good reading practices are essential in high school as well as university, and while reading should be fun, trying to succeed at school with inadequate reading and writing skills is no laughing matter.

"Students may have tremendous subject knowledge but if they can't master the demands of writing and reading they will definitely struggle," she said. "They may have the knowledge to answer an assessment task but if they don't have the literacy skills necessary to present an argument in essay form, or to write an academic report, this could all go to waste.

"It is a serious issue because we could be missing out on some of the great nurses, teachers, or paramedics the community will need in coming years."

Tom ToppTom Topp and the Great Adventure Swap (pictured) is an early chapter book for children aged eight years-plus, and is full of comedy, quirks and unexpected events.

"What do flying prawns, an inflatable dolphin and a cheese volcano have in common? Well, if you're curious, hopefully kids will be too," Dr Limbrick said.

"I try to write books that capture the imagination of readers. Not every child automatically enjoys reading, but reading is an essential skill for life. Hopefully my book will encourage more children to read, and the book's themes will also appeal to parents.

"The book is light-hearted and fun, but at the same time focuses on friendship, forgiveness and the fact that things don't always turn out the way you'd like, and that's okay!"

Dr Limbrick passionately believes that good reading habits underpin strong literacy and learning skills.

"In Australia, up to 20 per cent of children can struggle with reading, and recent NAPLAN results also underline the poor literacy skills that exist, particularly in regional areas. While effective instruction is critical to raising literacy standards, the motivation to read is also important and nothing motivates a child more than humour!"

When not writing books or assisting university students Dr Limbrick enjoys volunteering with organisations such as 3rd Bathurst Scouts, and is a firm believer in providing positive opportunities for children to thrive. She recently returned from Fiji where she was involved in distributing shoeboxes of gifts to children as part of Operation Christmas Child.

"When I was growing up I didn't have many opportunities, so I'm thrilled to be able to help kids today," she said.

Tom Topp and the Great Adventure Swap is illustrated by Jemima Trappel and is available from Thursday 1 September 2016 at


Media contact: Bruce Andrews, (02) 6338 6084

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Dr Lisa Limbrick.