Are you teaching literature to a classroom of students or homeschooling your own children? In either case, students should be reading outside of their assigned studies. But when you have your students write about what they're reading in an organized, reliable way, they learn so much more.
Make your students' personal reading extra worthwhile by assigning regular book reports, say one a month. By using this book report format, your students will learn to recognize important literary devices and gain a richer understanding of how literature works.
Because this book report format is organized and concise, students don't feel overwhelmed with the assignment. They only need to write a couple of sentences for each section (although the plot section should be longer), and after writing a few of these, they'll be able to identify setting, themes, antagonists, etc., as they go along. Their personal reading will become more than just entertainment--though it will not cease to be entertaining. It will become richer, and they will be more willing to read difficult literature since they will have a greater understanding of what the authors are trying to convey.
This book report format could be used in conjunction with Tolman Hall Homeschool Literature Unit Studies, but it's very useful for use with personal reading, not just assigned reading.
After your students have finished their reports, give them a chance to stand and formally share their book report with an audience. This is a great way for them to "sell" their favorite reads to their family and friends.