Disclaimer: I am not a native Russian speaker.
The conjugation is «читают», the plural, meaning that the girl is part of the subject of the verb. I hear/see this kind of construction a lot, for instance, «мы с мужем говорили об этом» for "my husband and I were talking about it". The literal translation would be "we with husband", which doesn't make sense in English.
Theres always difference between languages and it couldn't translate like on another language because it will not make sense and u just wont understand it For example in school i always wrote present simple with -ing because its sounds like this on russian Я делаю это каждый день-i do this every day Я делаю это сейчас-im doing it right now So we just have to remember it without trying to modificate and stuff
As a literal translation you're right. It means "with". But after some Googling we can see that the "meaning" of this type of pairing of people is more of "a boy and a girl". Just like "что" can mean "what" or "that", depending on how you use it. "С" can mean "with" or "and" depending on how you use it. In this case "and" is what is more appropriate.
Hi Wayne. In my assessment -the boy and the girl are reading a book- may very well imply them reading different books. Whereas -the boy is reading a book with the girl- implies they are reading the same book together. Since tepsa says the russian sentence means they are reading it together, to me that is the correct translation, despite the russian plural not being used in the english translation.
Question (sorry, can't reply on the app): is "девочка с (мальчик correctly declined) читают" an equally acceptable phrasing? (In general; aside from not really matching the English sentence here)
If not, any reason beyond idiomatic phrasing and/or maybe pleasing sound arrangement?