Richard Naylor's own goal and a Kevin Doyle header gave Steve Coppell's side a deserved victory in a game they dominated from start to finish.
Ipswich fans breathed an early sigh of relief when defender Jason de Vos escaped a red card inside four minutes. The centre-back tangled with Doyle as the Irish international looked to have a clear run at goal.
But although referee Steve Tanner awarded Reading a free-kick he let De Vos off with a yellow card, presumably as Doyle still had 25 yards to cover.
But even with 11 men still on the pitch, Ipswich struggled to contain confident Reading's free-flowing football. Top scorer Leroy Lita should have added to his six-goal tally for the season on 17 minutes, but toe-poked wide after winger Bobby Convey had cut the ball back in front of goal.
But Reading did edge in front from an almost identical move two minutes later, though it took an own goal to hand them the breakthrough.
Full-back Chris Makin sent Doyle clear down the right and his cross would have presented Lita with a far-post tap-in had Naylor not slid in to turn the ball into his own net.
Ipswich had barely a sniff of a reply, although former Reading striker Nicky Forster did think he had levelled with a turn and shot that beat Marcus Hahnemann - but only after the striker had clearly controlled with his hand.
And when Doyle doubled Reading's lead in the second minute of the second half, there was no way back for Joe Royle's side.
Doyle's cleaver header from Glenn Little's hanging cross escaped the grasp of Ipswich keeper Lewis Price and capped a fine performance from the Republic of Ireland international, who received a standing ovation when he made way for fit-again striker Dave Kitson midway through the second half.
At 2-0, the scoreline flattered Ipswich and Reading were desperately unlucky not to increase their advantage when they rattled the woodwork twice in the same move.
Doyle ran at the heart of the defence and flicked the ball up for Lita to thump a volley against a post, and from the rebound Doyle smashed his follow-up against the underside of the bar.
Sensing a reprieve, Ipswich poured forward in the closing stages, returning striker Adam Proudlock making a second 'debut' for the club.
And Proudlock would have set up a nail-biting finale, had it not been for an extraordinary clearance by Ibrahim Sonko, who spectacularly headed clear Proudlock's goalbound strike.