One of the benefits of reading aloud to your kids that's sometimes overlooked is that it develops their sense of story. Plop Leo (and to a lesser extent, Milly) down in the middle of a new book and he'll get his bearings pretty quickly. He can tell you a good story, too.
The other night he had to answer this question about his leveled reader, Ski Patrol: "After you read page 5, did you think there would be an avalanche in the story? Why or why not?" I think the answer they were looking for was yes, because the weather conditions were right. Leo's answer was yes, because if they mention an avalanche on page 5, there will probably be one later in the story. It's a meteorological Chekhov's gun. (That last sentence is mine. Leo prefers Tolstoy. Kidding!)
Later that (same) night, Leo and I started reading Brian Selznick's brilliant (and Caldecott Award-winning, hooray!) The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Scholastic, 2007). At the end of chapter 2, Hugo looks into the Station Inspector's office: "[He] could see the Station Inspector's desk, and in the corner of the office, the cage of a small jail cell that sat waiting for any criminals caught in the station. Hugo had seen men and women locked up in there, and a few times he had even seen boys no older than himself in the cell, their eyes red from crying. Eventually, these people were taken away, and Hugo never saw them again" (80). We stopped reading there, turned out the light. In the darkness, Leo asked, "Will Hugo end up in that cage, Mommy?"
You don't need me to tell you that at the beginning of Chapter 10, he does.
[Given permission to read ahead, I happily finished the entire book. I think Hugo would have loved it himself, especially the ending. After all, "He thought every good story should end with a big, exciting chase" (202).]