As a school with no prescribed curriculum, I struggled to assign readings to students in a way that I could assess their comprehension and thinking.
I also used the now-defunct Curriculet.
Actively Learn enables me to quickly and easily assign current, engaging informational texts to accompany our print novels. I am able to immediately assess and monitor student comprehension, rather than fumble with endless stacks of papers for which it would be too difficult to compile data. I love that I can automatically stop a student in his/her reading and check for understanding.
Every year for my informational text and research unit, I take suggestions from my 8th graders for the kinds of issues they care about. This varies every year depending on current events, so I use the web tools on ActivelyLearn to adapt recent news articles, which allows me to assign highly engaging texts in a way that still enables me to check for understanding.
Use the "import from the web" tool to use and adapt current events articles as companion texts for fiction. Make a routine of it so your students become accustomed to close reading as a habit.