1. I’d have loved one of these when I was teaching, the Pearson Text Analyser (PTA) https://www.english.com/blog/gse-text-analyzer/ Here’s a blog post about it https://www.english.com/gse/teacher-toolkit/user/textanalyzer
I tried the PTA out on the first six paragraphs of this article from today’s Guardian, ‘Massive internet outage hits websites including Amazon, gov.uk and Guardian’ https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/jun/08/massive-internet-outage-hits-websites-including-amazon-govuk-and-guardian-fastly and it told me it was B2+ in CEFR terms and 66-70 in terms of Pearson’s own Global Scale of English.
Interestingly, it also told me that the following words from the passage I chose were above the level of my text: terse, affected, twitter, inaccessible, twitch, broke, geographically, streaming. Not quite sure what’s going on there. (I’d love to try it out on some of those old textbooks that always seemed much too difficult for the students they claimed to be written for – maybe I will!)
2. While Pearson are analysing your classroom texts for you, Oxford University Press (OUP) are throwing down the gauntlet, a 10-minute reading challenge gauntlet, to be precise https://elt.oup.com/feature/global/10-minute-reading-challenge/?cc=gb&selLanguage=en You can download the challenge pack for parents in English or Spanish, to help them help their kids read for ten minutes each day.
3. If you’ve no idea what a kaitenzushi is, you need to read the article by Janeth Elizabeth Diggs-White Hori in the June issue of Humanising Language Teaching (HLT) https://www.hltmag.co.uk/jun21/ PDF of the Contents below, and here’s a direct link to the kaitenzushi piece https://www.hltmag.co.uk/jun21/kaitenzushi
4. And, finally, Shipwreck: originally planned as a stage theatre production, it’s been re-worked specifically for an audience listening from home or on headphones. It’s described as a “harrowing and hilarious masterpiece about race, religion, family and the nightmarish fallout of the American experiment”. There’s a short trailer on this page, as well as all three half-hour episodes, with and without subtitles https://publictheater.org/media-center/series/shipwreck/shipwreck/ I’ve not listened to it all yet, but it starts well!