Pius XII's DIVINO AFFLANTE SPIRITU
9. Nor should We fail to mention here how earnestly these same Our Predecessors, when the opportunity occurred, recommended the study or preaching or in fine the pious reading and meditation on the Sacred Scriptures. Pius X most heartily commended the society of St. Jerome, which strives to promote among the faithful - and to facilitate with all its power - the truly praiseworthy custom of reading and meditating on the holy Gospels; he exhorted them to persevere in the enterprise they had begun, proclaiming it "a most useful undertaking, as well as most suited to the times," seeing that it helps in no small way "to dissipate the idea that the Church is opposed to or in any way impedes the reading of the Scriptures in the vernacular." And Benedict XV, on the occasion of the fifteenth centenary of the death of St. Jerome, the greatest Doctor of the Sacred Scriptures, after having most solemnly inculcated the precepts and examples of the same Doctor, as well as the principles and rules laid down by Leo XIII and by himself, and having recommended other things highly opportune and never to be forgotten in this connection, exhorted "all the children of the Church, especially clerics, to reverence the Holy Scripture, to read it piously and meditate it constantly"; he reminded them "that in these pages is to be sought that food, by which the spiritual life is nourished unto perfection," and "that the chief use of Scripture pertains to the holy and fruitful exercise of the ministry of preaching"; he likewise once again expressed his warm approval of the work of the society called after St. Jerome himself, by means of which the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles are being so widely diffused, "that there is no Christian family any more without them and that all are accustomed to read and meditate them daily."
My cradle Catholic parents, age 72 and 66, have stated that they were discouraged from reading the bible. Whether this is true or whether they are mixing up what Ptostentants have repeat ad nauseum, I don't know.
It is true that "back in the day" Catholics weren't exactly encouraged to read the bible at the parish level, except for the readings in the Missal or as included in Catholic devotional works. I've seen some sources that indicated that Catholics shouldn't read the bible on their own but only as part of a study conducted by a priest. These were always local injunctions, not official Church policy. It was probable a part of the Counter Reformation culture and grew from a concern over "private interpretation" that was so rampant in protestantism.