I more or less do this with my current 2nd ed AD&D game. I didn't always do it of course. In my old highschool group we played it pretty normally. All the PCs read the PHB and the various books relating to their class and race, myself and my friend, as the two potential DMs read the DMG, MM, and campaign setting books.
However, that group more or less broke up long ago and only a handful of the players are around to play at any time. Most of my current players are newer friends, or friends of friends, who have never played before.
Rather than teach them all the rules or require them to do a lot of reading I just gave them a write up on the setting and the types of characters they could make and let them decide what to play based on what they liked the sound of, then helped them make their character and gave them a rundown of the rules, enough to make reasonable decisions. Mostly stuff like how rogue abilites, spells, and magic items work. Also the combat phase and stuff. After that I basically ran the game in a narative fashion, describing everything rather than using numbers, dice, or game terms. It works really well. They know there's a rule system in place so that their decisions mean something and they have character progression but they don't need to know the rules themselves.
Of course it means that I need to do all the rolling and keep track of all stats myself, but that's not as hard as you might imagine. Maybe it would be for another system, but I've been running 2nd ed for over a decade so the rules are second nature, and rather than roll all dice at the time I generate a huge list of results before the game and just go through them in order.