Wigan surrendered their lead at the top of the Championship, but still became only the third side this season to take a point from the Madejski Stadium.
Lloyd Owusu's thumping first-half header cancelled out Alan Mahon's deflected opener as Reading maintained their unbeaten home league record.
And the Latics were eventually happy to take a point from an end-to-end game as Reading full-back Nicky Shorey chipped an injury-time free-kick against the Wigan crossbar.
Yet Paul Jewell's visitors had dominated the opening 25 minutes and led when Mahon claimed the only goal the Latics have scored in November.
Ibrahima Sonko needlessly fouled on the edge of the penalty area and Wigan teed the ball up for Mahon to hit a wild shot that deflected horribly off Glen Little and beyond wrong-footed keeper Marcus Hahnemann.
The goal stirred Reading into life and they produced a stunning equaliser, culminating in Little's cross being headed home powerfully by Owusu.
Reading were without top scorer Dave Kitson and his absence was clearly felt by the home side.
"It is like Arsenal having to do without Thierry Henry," said Royals boss Steve Coppell, though Kitson's replacement Dean Morgan was unlucky not to hit a second-half winner.
First, the speedy striker saw a low shot brilliantly saved by John Filan after wriggling his way past Nicky Eaden and Gary Teale.
Then, after Andy Hughes' attempted cross had deflected kindly to Morgan, the striker saw his first-time shot blocked by the chest of the Wigan keeper.
Both sides looked tired in the closing stages, but Reading came closest to a winner when Shorey's free-kick had Filan beaten but bounced off the top of the crossbar three minutes into stoppage time.