You can increase a child's ability to attach meaning to reading by providing many opportunities to hear stories and let a child get involved in the stories. Reading a book to a child yourself is probably the best since vocabulary and questions can be addressed immediately. If you'd like ideas to improve comprehension while reading with a child, you can check out this post.
Audio books are great for getting more stories and language to your kids. Listening to an audio book together on a road trip is a way to have a story to discuss and have a shared experience. Recently my family and I listened to My Brother Sam is Dead on a road trip. It did have a sad and graphic ending. My children are older, so they were able to handle it. I didn't plan the timing, but the story ended exactly when we pulled into the garage. It is a memory we all share, and a story we won't forget.
There are a number of free online sites that have books for watching and listening. I've used many of these sites with my own kids. We really loved using these sites while preparing dinner.
If you'd like to check understanding of books, you can check out Book Adventure. I'm using this with my kids. It's a free site with book quizzes.