Two of the returning starters combined to set up an early half chance for the Royals - Joao striding forward down the middle and feeding Swift, but he coudn't find a yard to get his shot away and Edmonds-Green stepped in to snuff out the danger.
But the hosts took the lead with less than six minutes on the clock. An Mbenza cross from the right was met by the head of Fraizer Campbell who nodded down past Rafael and inside the right post.
Reading looked to reply when Ejaria won the ball on the left and fed Swift in a central position. He couldn't get the ball out from under his feet but found Aluko who scuttled past his man and drilled low at goal only for Schofield to get down well to save.
Appeals for a penalty were dismissed when Ejaria took a tumble inside the box from a worked free kick. And moments later, Schofield had to race out of his box to slice a ball over the top clear, with Joao closing him down.
Ejaria intercepted a crossfield ball at the back from the hosts and tried to play in Swift with an early ball - but it just skidded away from the Royals midfielder.
With half an hour gone, patient build up from the back led to Laurent winning a second ball and getting the ball to Aluko on the edge of the Terriers' box. He wormed his way into a shooting position but scuffed an effort wide of the left upright.
At the start of three minutes of injury time, Swift played a superb ball with the outside of the foot to set Laurent away down the left side of the box. But a late sliding challenge from Sarr denied the midfielder the chance to shoot.
Reading had played some good stuff all half and so nearly levelled with the last play of the 45. Swift swung in a free kick from the left, Holmes rose and bulleted a header at goal - only for Schofield to make a great instinctive stop with his legs at his back post.
Half-time: Huddersfield Town 1-0 Reading
The visitors began the second half pressing high in search of an equaliser - Laurent and then Aluko both nearly finding throughballs for Joao to run onto but stretching Town challenges intercepted on both occasions.
Joao win a free kick just outside the area that Swift struck inches over the crossbar. But Huddersfield waited to pounce on the counter and O'Brien raced down the left before a low cross flashed across the six yard box but beyond the slide of Campbell and wide.
Reading did find the equaliser they deserved though and no surprise that it came from the foot of Lucas Joao. A long ball over the top from McIntyre was chased down by Joao who got goalside of the defender and quitle superbly stroked the dropping ball past Schofield from a very narrow angle.
Suddenly the Royals were looking for lead and Laurent, Richards and Ejaria combined well down the left for the latter to cut a ball back into the box - it was cleared behind for a corner before it could find a red-socked leg.
Joao sent Swift on a counter attack and he fed Ejaria to his left - but the Royals midfielder cut inside and ran out of space to get a shot away.
The home side, who had won their last five at home, looked for a route back into the lead and appealed for a handball when a host of Reading bodies charged down a shot from 25 yards out.
But the Royals instead scored a second - through sheer brilliance from Joao. The powerful forward received the ball on the corner of the box and turned inside before placing a stunning right-footed drive past the dive of Schofield and inside the right post for 2-1.
A third would allow the Royals some breathing space and Olise spotted the run of Richards who was bundled over as he got into the box. But nothing was given and Joao, collecting the loose ball, couldn't get a shot away.
A brilliant right handed save denied Mbenza an equaliser - McIntyre's clearing header dropping to the Town man and his half volley was heading into the back of the net before the Brazilian's low dive.
The hosts should have levelled with five minutes remaining, a threaded ball collected by an onside Mbenza in a central position just inside the box - but he placed his shot just wide of the bottom left corner.
Esteves and Baldock came on as Reading looked to hold onto the lead in the dying stages. But Esteves nearly scored a third, a Terriers clearance falling to the feet of Baldock who teed up Esteves for a shot on the edge of the box, but his effort looped over Schofield and against the crossbar.
And the Royals saw out four minutes of injury time very comfortably - earning a fine come from behind win on the road against a side so solid on home turf.
The perfect start to 2021.
Full-time: Huddersfield Town 1-2 Reading
Huddersfield Town: Schofield, Pipa, Toffolo, Hogg (c), Bacuna, O'Brien, Eiting (Pritchard 70), Mbenza, Campbell, Sarr, Edmonds-Green.
Subs: Hamer, Vallejo, Duhaney, Critchlow, Brown, Rowe, Jackson, Phillips.
Yellow: Mbenza, Toffolo
Goals: Campbell (6)
Reading: Rafael, McIntyre, Morrison (c), Holmes, Richards, Rinomhota, Laurent, Aluko (Esteves 87), Swift (Olise 61), Ejaria (Baldock 86), Joao (Semedo 81).
Subs: Southwood, Watson, Dorsett, East, Puscas.
Goals: Joao (53, 65)
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