Lita pounced at the near post in the 30th minute to divert home Ulises De La Cruz's low cross from the left.
That goal proved decisive in a disjointed game of few clear-cut chances as both sides - both full of Premier League talent - cancelled each other out.
Tom Huddlestone, Wayne Routledge, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Adel Taarabt were in Clive Allen's starting XI while Reading kicked-off with five full internationals - De La Cruz, Andre Bikey, John Oster, Shane Long and Emerse Fae - and only two players without Premier League experience.
Taarabt started brightly and forced an early save from Adam Federici and Leigh Mills glanced just over minutes later but the next incident of note was Reading's goal on the half-hour.
It wasn't the best spell for the lads as Lita was soon in again, this time driving a yard wide and then skipper Troy Archibald-Henville was forced off by a hip problem, replaced by Chris Riley and forcing a defensive reshuffle, Joe Martin partnering Mills centrally.
Simon Dawkins got the next effort on target after 55 minutes, a quick spin and shot straight at Federici and the game opened up for a spell on the hour mark as Robson-Kanu stabbed wide from close range and Federici produced the save of the game to claw away Huddlestone's 30-yard free-kick.
Our best chance arrived on 79 minutes when Boateng's pass sent the impressive Danny Rose through on goal. Federici darted out and appeared to stumble slightly, Rose prodded the ball past him only to watch it roll just the wrong side of the post.
Oster tried his luck to no avail a couple of times late on and that was about that.
Leroy Lita's first half strike was enough for reigning champions Reading to take maximum points in Monday night's reserve clash at Leyton Orient.