If you're interested, most people consider the VNs for both to be the 'ideal' way to experience them, but I can understand not wanting to sit through a whole VN. They're not everyone's cup of tea.
Since I've just started Umineko I'm not confident on the names, but for Higurashi the arcs are as...
In fact, the only 'choice' you can make throughout all of Higurashi, I think, is literally in one TIP of Himatsubushi, and it's a completely irrelevant choice that only serves to illustrate the point that's trying to be made in that TIP.
And yeah, I've been playing through the VNs for Higurashi (at least the MangaGamer releases on Steam since I don't really want to play the old releases) and finished Meakashi the other day, so now I'm just filling in the wait for Tsumihoroboshi with the Umineko VNs.