From the article, it seems like the original author of the MSV system got this backwards: he thought the understanding had to come first. It doesn't. The understanding builds on the phonetic foundation in reading just as it does in speaking.
In the sense that, for example, deaf people can still learn speech, just not with sounds, this is of course true. But I'm talking about the case of a child with normal hearing and speech, where meanings are linked to spoken and heard sounds when they learn to speak.
> there were certain words that I never bothered assigning sounds to until long after I internalized them
Words that you read, or words that you spoke? I'm going to assume the former since speaking a word is assigning a sound to it. If you don't assign sounds to words that you read, how would you speak them? If somebody asked you to repeat what you just read, what would you say?
> Even if sound is needed, I don't understand why the author couldn't just assign the sound of the letters in a word being read out in order for words she didn't know.
That's what phonics is: you learn to sound out words you don't know letter by letter. Gradually you build up skill to the point where you can effortlessly translate written words to sounds, or more precisely to the structures in your brain that you previously linked to spoken or heard sounds when you learned to speak.
I didn't speak them. I didn't need to. If I actually needed to read it then obviously I would've given it a closer look and derive some sounds for it, but it wasn't necessary in order to internalize the word and use it when articulating my thoughts in my mind.
> That's what phonics is: you learn to sound out words you don't know letter by letter.
I'm talking about reading the letters out like an initialism, so assigning the sound "en-em-see-el-ai" to "nmcli". Even without any training in phonics the author must've at least known the names if the letters?
In other words, you weren't using those words to communicate anything to anyone else, just for your own internal thinking. Fair enough.
> Even without any training in phonics the author must've at least known the names if the letters?
A child might know the names of the letters but not know that sounding out words letter by letter is a good idea. The article discusses in some detail that apparently the strategy of sounding out unknown words letter by letter does not occur to children who aren't taught it; instead they use other much less effective strategies that do occur to them.
Oh ok I see. That makes sense.