That must be a Russian practice. I was ordained, or more correctly, blessed a Reader by Archbishop Iakovos at Holy Cross seminary and he did not place a short pholonion one me. He did make all seminarians rassophors by giving them the right to wear a exofrasso or jibby. I have seen Readers blessed in the Antiochian Archdiocese and we do not use them. Fr. John W. Morris
I was set aside as a reader with a short phelonion in the OCA.
I wonder if this has any common roots with the “folded chasubles” used by the deacon and subdeacon in penitential seasons in the West.