The match had significance for teams at both ends of the table
Shane Long's double kept Reading's faint hopes of automatic promotion alive - while leaving Norwich in deep trouble at the wrong end of the table.
After a goalless first half, Jimmy Kebe crossed for Long to nod past Canaries keeper David Marshall at the far post.
And the same pair combined again as Long headed a second from close range.
It means Plymouth and Nottingham Forest are safe from relegation - with Norwich needing to win and hope Barnsley lose on the final day in order to stay up.
The Royals, now assured of a play-off place, need to beat Birmingham City at the Madejski Stadium - and hope Sheffield United fail to win - to pip second-placed Birmingham to the second automatic promotion spot.
Norwich nearly fell behind early on when Marshall struggled to deal with a back-pass, and the lively Long charged down his clearance.
Kebe had an effort blocked by Canaries defender Jason Shackell, while Alan Gow shot just wide for the home side just after the break.
But Republic of Ireland international Long broke the deadlock with 21 minutes left when Kebe advanced down the left, beat Jon Otsemobor with a stepover and sent over a teasing cross for Long to force in from three yards.
When Kebe and Long linked up again 10 minutes later, there was no way back for Bryan Gunn's side.
Norwich manager Bryan Gunn:
"We have to believe a miracle can happen. We hope Plymouth put on a performance against Barnsley in front of their own fans.
"We need lady luck to smile on us. But we have to do our own job first and focus on that for four or five days.
"The spirit was there for all to see but we didn't create too many openings. We have to face up to it but there is still a chance. I will lift the players and get them fresh, fit and focused for what will be a difficult day."
Reading manager Steve Coppell:
"It's gratifying for Shane Long to start and deliver.
"He has been on the periphery for so long that you would expect him to have made the step up by now and he is conscious of that.
"But it was a real strong performance from him and he did really well for both of his goals."
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