When mentioning the hobbies, we often ask people around us like 你喜欢看什么书？. However, the foreigners who learn Mandarin should realize that here 看 is not the same as reading as we say. The difference lies in the emphasis. When we say 看, we mean the visual perception, emphasizing the casual reading while 读 stresses to learn and understand the meaning. Some foreign students who learn Mandarin may know that the definition of reading in the Contemporary Chinese Dictionary is 看并领会其内容.
Therefore, it is clear that we will fail to do reading without 看 but it is also not equal to reading. Besides the visual 看, students who learn Chinese language should pay more attention to understand the meanings. Therefore, reading consists of visual activity and mental activity. Of course, the objects for reading are not limited in books and magazines. When you learn Mandarin, you should regard all kinds of practical texts like instructions and directions and advertisements as the objects to read. Therefore, reading should be the activity to understand the message conveyed from the materials.