We analyse the timing of recall as a source of information about children’s performance in complex working memory tasks. A group of 8-year- old children performed a traditional operation span task in which sequence length increased across trials and an operation period task in which processing requirements were extended across trials of constant sequence length. Interword pauses were larger than is commonly found in immediate serial recall tasks, yet shorter than for reading span. These pauses increased with the demands of recall, decreased across the output sequence and were to some extent predictive of scholastic ability. Overall, timing data illustrate that recall in working memory tasks involve subtle processes of item access rather than simple read-out of information from an immediate store.