Back in the earliest centuries after Christ, certain Germanic tribes, including some that settled England, used a mysterious set of letters known as RUNES for magic and divination. Their priests would tear bark and boards from trees and scratch the runes on them with stones and other sharp implements.
READ, from Old English raedan, originally meant the interpreting of these runic symbols, symbols that like the omens and signs in nature were best deciphered by those considered to be most spiritual and most in touch with the mysteries of the universe. An ambiguous pattern of runes was a raedels, source of modern RIDDLE.
From its very beginnings as a word, then, "reading" has referred to an interpretive act. It means the unlocking of puzzles and riddles. You likely already know this to be so. The real question is what's different about reading in college?