I have found this assignment to be very useful when dealing with long or complex novels. It has worked well for Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, and I have used a similar assignment for Dickens's Great Expectations. Students like this assignment as well because it provides a review for them. It works best to have a place to post the briefings--a web site for instance. This assignment can be customized to fit the number of students in your class. If there are more students than chapters, you could expand the briefings to include character summaries or analyses.
This file includes the assignment that I hand to students, the requirements of the chapter briefing, and a model chapter briefing that I wrote (which I also share with students).