Give each student a pencil and piece of paper. Tell your students that they will be cartoonists and should draw a cartoon of the story you are about to read aloud. Stick figures are perfectly okay -- this is not about drawing skill, but it's about picking out the most important details they hear from the story. Let them know they will get a chance at the end of the reading to finish up their work. At the end of your reading, set a timer for 45-60 seconds to give students a little time to fill in any details they wanted to add.
This helps keep students focused and interested during a moderately long reading. It is also a good opportunity for students to show each other their work and discuss their drawings -- it's your secret way of reinforcing the teaching through repetition, AND they will unconsciously share what they learned from the story. This works well with stories that have lots of concrete details and/or action.
You could do this in a class of adults, too -- many adults can still draw, or at least laugh at their lack of skill!