This is a passage from the book Learning All The Time by John Holt. He is discussing ways of exposing children to the ideas behind reading (letters stand for sounds, letters put together make words) while letting them figure it out in a way that makes sense to them. He is specifically talking about writing out simple words whose letters make the sounds that make up the word (not all of them do, as he points out)–and he uses Sam as his example word! I think this passage applies to much more than just reading.
It is neither necessary nor a good idea to be too thorough about this. It is not a lesson to be completely learned and digested the first or second time. This is not how children learn things. They have to live with an idea or insight for a while, turn it around in some part of their minds, before they can, in a very real sense, discover it, say “I see,” take possession of the idea, and make it their own–and unless they do this, the idea will never be more than surface, parrot learning, and they will never really be able to make use of it.
Mr. Holt’s ideas about learning have inspired my entire set of educational beliefs. Honestly, everything he has to say is so exciting to me! And I think his books are wonderful tools in raising children no matter what kind of education you favor.