Trouble is, too many posters on these forums quote 'research results' selectively to support their own (often evangelistic) beliefs about synthetic phonics. Take the Clackmannanshire research, for example. In that research, the comparison was not between phonics and no phonics, but different amounts, speeds and types of phonics programmes (including synthetic) within an early intervention programme [more of that below]. Frequent reference was made in the media to the “spectacular” results from that research and in particular the results from the boys. What is not so widely reported is that the more spectacular results were in the children’s word recognition skills, rather than in their understanding. By Primary 7 the group taught initially by synthetic phonics were cited as reading 3 years 6 months ahead of chronological age, spelling was 1 year 8 months ahead. However, reading comprehension was only 3.5 months ahead. The issue of phonics was only part of the intervention to which the pupils in Clackmannanshire were subjected. In addition to the comparison of the two types of phonics there was a varied programme: nursery nurses were introduced into Primary 1, story bags; home-link teachers; homework clubs and nurture groups. There was also a comprehensive staff development programme for which stressed making learning purposeful, motivating children and the importance of noticing and building on success.