All four goals came in the second half as David Lowe's young team couldn't follow up their impressive win over Sunderland last time out, tasting defeat by a strong Royals outfit.
Against a Reading side that reached this season's semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup, Rovers acquitted themselves very well in the first half as chances at both ends were restricted.
Rovers then grabbed the opening goal of the game ten minutes into the second half. Stuart Callaway's crisp effort from outside the box deflecting into the back of the net.
However that old adage of being at your most vulnerable when you've just scored came true as the visitors took advantage of sloppy play to level almost immediately.
After that Reading's experience showed as they took advantage of hesitancy at the back to lead on 69 minutes, before a Ryan Nyambe own goal two minutes from time rubbed salt into Rovers' wounds.
"Apart from the scoreline I felt the boys applied themselves very well against tough, experienced opposition," said coach David Lowe.
"They were stronger physically than ourselves but we were never out of the game, it was another good test for our squad, the only disappointment was we didn't create as many chances as we could have done."
The Under-18s have little time for rest, they play their penultimate game of the season this Tuesday morning at Brockhall when Stoke City are the visitors. Kick-off is 11.30am, all supporters are welcome.
ROVERS: Williams, Lavelle (c), Edgar (sub Scott 62 mins), Wharton, Nyambe, Wassi, Mansell (sub Fawns 90 mins), Hardcastle, Howarth, Harris (sub Askew 80 mins), Callaway.
Subs not used: Fisher, Platt.