I do a project called literature letters. My students choose a book to read and are matched with a partner. The students divide the books into four sections. After they read the first section, they write a letter explaining that section to their partner. The partner writes back and asks questions about the book. This helps the students concentrate on what's happening in the story because they know they must explain it in a letter. They do this for all four sections of the book and send a duplicate of each letter for me to read. Literature letters allow me to check comprehension and simultaneously develop my students' writing skills.