Do I need to read music to be able to play this instrument?
No. The Native American style flute lends itself to improvisation because it features a pentatonic scale. Within this easy to learn scale there are no "wrong" notes. Any combination of these notes sounds great. A group of people playing within this pentatonic scale will be in harmony regardless of which notes are being played by each person. Composing original music is easy and inevitable. In Native American flute circles, this is called "Playing from your heart.
You can also play all of the other notes in any scale and the book that comes with every kit or flute we sell shows you how to do this. Books that show, in tablature, how to play familiar tunes are available or you can teach yourself how to play them.