In The Prelude, William Wordsworth refers to a child as
"creator and receiver both,
Working but in alliance with the works
Which it beholds."
This passage works as a summary for my conception of reading. When I read, I am receiving something that is created by the writer. But if I am fully engaged with the text, then I am also creating something. As a reader, I create (or, if you prefer, re-create) characters, scenes, settings, events, images, meaning, ideas. I am working in alliance with the work itself to create meaning.
Is there a distinction between creation and simply perception? Perhaps, as in a different context of The Prelude, Wordsworth does distinguish between the two (in a passage that seems aware of Kant):
"Deem that our puny boundaries are things
That we perceive, and not that we have made."
In perception, we merely bring out what is already there, while in creation, we make something, "working but in alliance" with what is already there to create ourselves. I do think reading is creation. The work itself doesn't exist outside the mind of the reader: only when the reader engages in the text (in any way: reading it, discussing it, writing about it, remembering it) does the text have any power at all.