The 48-year-old has signed a contract until summer 2016 to replace Brian McDermott at the Madjeski Stadium, returning to football after a two-month break.
He was surprisingly sacked by Southampton in January despite securing back-to-back promotions and will now lock horns with his old side in a battle for survival.
Reading are in a more perilous situation than the Saints - they are second bottom and seven points shy of safety - but meet Adkins' old club in his second game.
A trip to Arsenal comes first, though, and Adkins wants to forget about the past.
Speaking for the first time since he left Southampton, he said: "I've not made any comments since I left Southampton and I want to take the opportunity to thank all the people there.
"I thank the fans, the players and supporters. We were on a fantastic journey but we have to move on now.
"I am pleased to be the Reading manager. We will take it one game at a time and try and keep this club in the Premier League.
"It's a good club, I've been impressed with them and I've always known what sort of club it is. We're in the Premier League and we want to stay there. I am excited."