Elementary/primary school teachers work on two major aspects of reading: decoding and comprehension - I think you are describing the former.
Decoding is the ability to read words by translating written symbols into the sounds of spoken language. This is done either orally or silently. Decoding is sometimes called “word identification”. When readers do not recognise a word in its printed form, they use their knowledge of the relationships between letters and sounds to translate it into spoken language NCLNA
In English, this can only take you so far, since pronunciation is often ambiguous and knowing which homonym one is looking at requires understanding the context. In other languages, that have one to one symbol-sound correspondence, it is possible to fully decode the language without comprehending anything.
I can decode Welsh, but I can neither read nor speak the language - I just know the sounds the letters make.