Worked in Central reading for 12 years, lived there for 4 years (right in the centre).
Now live in cholsey - just north west of reading.
In my experience
- good for shopping
- good private schools
- good biking nearby (not the lakes mind)
- good transport links
- parts of it are a real dump
- parts of it are very rough (remember the two girls drugged, raped and shot a few years ago)
If your kids are young I'd look outside - thatcham, Wallingford, Wokingham etc
Still easy to get to London but nicer. I often have to go to London and can get to the city in less than 1.5 hrs door to door. If just paddington less than an hour.
Hope that helps!