This is indeed possible.
First, yoiu have to activate the single key shortcuts (meaning that you press a key, and an associated tool gets selected). You do this in the Preferences, in the General tab, by checking the "Use single-key acceleerators to access tools" option. You then may have to restart Acrobat/Reader.
This activates the single key commands. H is for the Hand tool, and U is for the Highlight tool.
I have not tried it in Read mode, but it does work in Full Screen mode.
Hope this can help.