Championship Wrap: Bournemouth march on, Brighton end Leicester's unbeaten run
On a thrilling night of action in England's second-tier featuring 40 goals, Eddie Howe's men romped to a fifth successive win, moving within two points of their sixth-placed opponents in the process.
Bournemouth raced into a commanding lead by half-time courtesy of two goals from Matt Ritchie and one from Yann Kermorgant.
Hal Robson-Kanu grabbed a late consolation for the visitors, but Reading may now be feeling nervous with a host of teams breathing down their necks.
Brighton and Hove Albion are also two points off the top six after recording a highly impressive 4-1 victory at the King Power Stadium against a Leicester City side already assured of promotion.
Stephen Ward, Jesse Lingard and Leonardo Ulloa were on target, with the latter scoring twice as Leicester, whose last Championship defeat had come at Brighton in December, saw their 21-match unbeaten league run come to a spectacular end.
The leaders did at least manage a goal through Gary Taylor-Fletcher in the 89th minute.
Ipswich Town are alongside Bournemouth and Brighton on 61 points following a 2-0 victory at Huddersfield Town.
Hours after prospective new Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino pledged to give manager Brian McDermott time to prove himself, the Yorkshire club suffered an eighth defeat in nine matches, going down 3-0 at Watford.
Second-placed Burnley, boosted by the return of star striker Danny Ings, moved a step closer to the Premier League with a hard-fought 1-0 win at relegation-threatened Barnsley, who are now five points from safety. Ashley Barnes grabbed the only goal at Oakwell.
Derby County are 11 points behind Burnley in third after recovering from a first-minute David Goodwillie strike to triumph 3-1 at Blackpool.
That win lifted Derby back above QPR, who were beaten 2-0 at Blackburn Rovers - another side retaining play-off hopes.
At the wrong end of the table, Charlton Athletic claimed a potentially crucial 3-2 victory over rock-bottom Yeovil Town.
Charlton remain only two points above the drop zone, however, after Millwall boosted their survival hopes with a shock 1-0 away win over fifth-placed Wigan Athletic.
Doncaster Rovers are still within reach for the bottom three after a 2-1 loss against resurgent Bolton Wanderers.
Elsewhere, Nottingham Forest came from two goals down to snatch a 3-3 draw against Sheffield Wednesday and Middlesbrough beat Birmingham City 3-1, despite seeing Kenneth Omeruo and Ben Gibson sent off in the closing stages.