I?m sure you?re right about the time issue. modgepodge wrote: "Lots of surprises actually, some of my very able readers did very badly in the test." Up to about the age of 7 or 8, using books designed to teach children to read, some children do very well, because they have good memories for whole word shapes and are good at guessing from pictures, context and first letters. If they find phonics difficult, bright children who are encouraged to use these strategies will use them instead of phonics, even when they?ve had daily phonics lessons. It works well at first, and then it falls apart, because they can?t read unknown words without all the clues they get from the school?s reading scheme books or books designed for young children. At around 8 years old, as it becomes clear they can?t cope, their self-esteem starts to sink very low, as I know from experience. I?ve come to support this Phonics Check strongly as then months go by, because I realise that it?s going to highlight those children who may be on the road to failure when they?re older, even if they appear to be reading well in Year 1. Hopefully it will persuade those on the fence that we need phonics first and fast for teaching word recognition. Until children can decode easily, we can develop other language skills and a love of reading through listening and talking.