It is a positive observation that teachers are unsure of what the sound structure in words. Why? It means that they are grappling with the change. Before teachers stand in front of their class and lead the lesson, they have reflected on this element. The research reports the same; that the majority of teachers will struggle with the phonemes and syllables in the words because teachers are adult spellers, who learnt to spell so long ago. Research suggests that teachers need to remember how to return to the process of acquiring these skills and focus on the relationship between phonics and the sound structure. So this is very positive!

Colour coding will assist students to apply the relationship between sound structure and letter patterns.
Colour coding also requires teachers to teach this relationship.
In schools where there is a literacy coordinator, the literacy coordinator can then 'coach' the teachers and particularly those that are having difficulty, as there is evidence of their understanding of the sound-structure int he words.

What other tips can PLD provide?
All of Stage 1 and Stage 2 words involve breaking the words into phonemes (or individual sounds). There is no chunking in Stage 1 and 2.
Stage 3 there is some attention to the individual phonemes, but 2 syllable words sounding and onset and rime sounding appears.
Stage 4, 5 and 6 typically have lengthy words and so will rely largely on syllabic spelling, but sometimes also attention to phonemes (of individual sounds).

The Phonic Sight Word Sequence (below) explains this and outlines beneath the phonic concept exactly what the sounding out strategy is.

The Structured Synthetic Phonics Time Savers (below) word lists identify the reading strategy within the colour-coding of the words, which are conveniently already prepared.
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