Here are three independent reading projects that I have successfully used with my freshmen and sophomores each year. I use the three throughout the first semester when I intersperse independent reading with our shared texts. The first project, which incorporates the arts, allows them to open up and learn about each other towards the beginning of the year; the second one, a letter written by their book's main character, allows them to delve deeply into characterization and symbolism; and the final one, a Book Fair, is a celebration of the books. The Book Fair is a positive, uplifting way to close the semester. I have included rubrics for the first two, a brief recommended reading list, and a sample letter for the second project. I hope they work as well in your class.