For many faculty and students, it may seem awkward or somehow inappropriate to use classroom time for reading. Shouldn't reading be done outside of class (per variations on the "flipped classroom," or a traditional use of texts generally?) Won't it be weird for professor and students to sit silently reading?
However, there are reasons to read in class. Compared to even 45 minutes of lecture - practically the length of many class periods - students might cover much more content by reading in just fifteen minutes, leaving time for subsequent activities such as class or small-group discussion, problem-solving activities, or even some lecture or whiteboard demonstration. It may benefit a subsequent conversation or activity to have a fresh read (or re-read) of a relatively short text. A few paragraphs or pages may be read at at time in interval, followed by short periods of discussion or lecture. This latter method can help students work through difficult texts, and learn reading methods of a specific discipline. If faculty chronically complain that students won't read outside of class, perhaps using classtime to teach how to read in a discipline, and why the course texts have implications for course substance and larger problems, might change student attitudes toward course readings within a few weeks.
And classtime is often currently used in vaguely similar ways. Many professors have no problem proctoring exams, which is essentially a quiet, on-their-own activity. In many cases, students view video in class that is available - perhaps in Bouhwuis Library - outside of class. So reading as a classtime activity isn't altogether as strange as it may seem.