Code-based and meaning-based reading are two hotly debated methods for teaching reading. I am firmly on the side of code-based instruction. Meaning can’t come if a child can’t read the words. From the article Code-Teaching or Code-Breaking? by Dianne Murphy, “Teaching the relationship between these two codes is the focus of systematic synthetic phonics. Because it is not a natural process to interpret written symbols, this aspect of language must be taught systematically and explicitly to ensure that all readers not only acquire, but also master the skill. Once the code is mastered, the meaning of the text is available to the student and the cognitive benefits of reading accumulate.”
The Orton-Gillingham teaching is a systematic system of teaching phonics that is important for all children, particularly those with reading disabilities.