Two goals in three second-half minutes from Ryan Bennett and Elliott Bennett earned the Canaries just a second win in 17 Premier League games to see Hughton's men move seven points clear of 18th-placed Wigan with four games to play.
With Stoke and Sunderland also winning, it was crucial for Norwich to take three points.
Hughton said: "We needed it. There are teams around us that are all capable of winning games.
"How it will end up in the end, numbers wise, I don't know, but at the moment this feels like a big win for us.
"I think it will take more points. I've always thought around that 40-mark and I think there are teams around us that are still very capable of winning games.
"I do think it will take more, but three points today has been a big help towards where we want to go."
Reading, meanwhile, sit 10 points adrift with 12 to play for and their one-season sojourn in the top-flight appears to be at an end.
A first victory in Nigel Adkins' fourth game in charge was a must if the Royals were to give themselves a survival chance and drag Norwich deeper into the relegation scrap.
Pavel Pogrebnyak's close-range miss at the end of the first half proved costly and Reading's response of Garath McCleary's 72nd-minute goal was not enough.
Adkins said: "We can't hide away from the situation where we are in the league. I'm not going to do that."
The former Southampton boss cut a solemn figure and his focus now appears to be on masterminding an immediate return from the Championship.
He added: "The players are going to work very hard - they are working very hard - and we want to make sure the supporters have got something they're going to enjoy watching and ultimately winning football as well."
Norwich had Reading in trouble for much of the opening half an hour, but slowly the visitors came into the game.
After the restart Ryan Bennett - on midway through the first-half due to a groin problem for Michael Turner - swept it in left-footed for his first Norwich goal and Elliott Bennett fired in another soon after.
"We needed the half-time break," Hughton said.
"We spoke at half-time about starting the second half as we started the first, which we did and fortunately for us we got our goals in that period."
The only frustration for Hughton was that Norwich backed off McCleary, allowing him to shoot and score to set up an anxious conclusion to the contest.
Norwich next play Stoke, but first Hughton will savour the win.
"We'll try to enjoy today for today, but once tomorrow comes you have to start thinking about the next game," he said.
"Today's a victory that we deserved. Over the balance of the game we were the better team, we got the better chances and it would've been incredibly disappointing if we didn't win today."
Reading's miserable away record continued, leaving Adkins dejected.
"I thought we did well in the first half," the Royals boss added.
"Unfortunately when we came out in the second half, for a 10, 15-minute period, we didn't deal with the physicality of Norwich City.
"To concede two goals so close together in the game, it effectively cost us the game."