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.