I used George Orwell's Animal Farm with my Grade 8 class as an Independent Reading Assignment and they loved the book! I used the attached study guide to evaluate their understanding of the reading.
The study guide is in Microsoft Word format so it may be changed so that you can adjust the material to meet the individual needs of your class. The guide is meant to be used as the students read the book in class.
As an icebreaker, I started the guide off with a letter from one of the characters to the students in the class. I wanted the letter to serve as an opportunity to explain the content of the guide and as an opportunity for how to manage the work.
There is also a student feedback form included in the guide which provided me with the opportunity to learn what the students would change about the guide should I decide to use it in the future with other classes. For the most part, it was well received. The students found the guide fairly straightforward and easy to manage. They liked the fact that there was ample opportunity to voice their own thoughts and opinions on the book.
The guide also provided us with ample opportunity to move forward with an essay writing exercise.