I have been reading a couple of books on a literacy theme, Lost for Words by John Humphrys (Radio 4's Today programme) and Teaching Your Child to Read and Write by Valerie Douglas. Both are 'interesting' for different reasons.
I found Humphrys' book to be quite a polemic, summed up a quote from the book "I love arguing". He doesn't like linguistic rules being stretched too far, but neither does he like pedants picking up on every last error. It seems to me that the middle ground that is left is both very narrow and very hard to pin down. My confusion is perhaps down to the fact that I usually have to read each example of bad practice several times to determine what the problem might be.
Similarly Teaching Your Child to Read and Write has it's own individual perspective, written by an ex-teacher it is making the case for teachers not having the sole responsibility for a child's literacy skills. I felt that she wanted parents to both take a lead role in the development of children's reading and writing skills, but also to bow to teachers superior knowledge on the same subject. And again I was confused as to how to find the right balance.
To finish on a slightly more positive note, the Teaching Your Child to Read and Write was lent to me, by a reading mentor at Parkwood Academy, not to read cover to cover, but because there are a range of reading tests set out, that are indeed potentially really useful, so thanks Mandy.