The great doctor Ambrose counsels the link of prayer with Scripture reading, thus we have the genesis of Biblical reading and reflection as a component of the Hours:
56. But prayer should accompany “the reading of sacred Scripture so that there may be a conversation between God and his people: ‘we talk with God when we pray, we listen to him when we read God’s words.” [Ambrose, De officiis ministrorum 1, 20, 88: PL 16, 50. See also Dei Verbum 25.] For this reason the office of readings consists also of psalms, a hymn, a prayer, and other texts, giving it the character of true prayer.
The inclusion of the hymn also gives the OoR a communal character. There are pastoral provisions aplenty, including praying the OoR after Vespers on the previous day:
57. The Constitution on the Liturgy directs that the office of readings, “though it should retain its character as a night office of praise when celebrated in choir, shall be adapted so that it may be recited at any hour of the day; it shall be made up of fewer psalms and longer readings.” [SC 89c.]
58. Those who are obliged by their own particular law and others who commendably wish to retain the character of this office as a night office of praise (either by saying it at night or very early in the morning and before morning prayer), during Ordinary Time choose the hymn from the selection given for this purpose. Moreover, for Sundays, solemnities, and certain feasts what is said in nos. 70-73 about vigils must be kept in mind.
59. Without prejudice to the regulations just given, the office of readings may be recited at any hour of the day, even during the night hours of the previous day, after evening prayer has been said.
Any experiences out there praying the Office of Readings? Any praise or complaint for the flexibility of the post-conciliar practice?