Creating Your Own Passages:

Select a Topic

First, decide on the topic you would like to target. You can refer to corresponding listening/speaking lessons created on similar topics in PositivePsychologyintheClassroom or this following list of positive psychology topics within the three areas of PERMA, character strengths, and mindfulness:

    1. Experiencing Gratitude
    2. Resilience
    3. Active Constructive Responding
    4. Service
    5. Goals
    6. Expressing Gratitude
    7. Perseverance
    8. Kindness
    9. Volunteerism
    10. Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence
    11. Teamwork
    12. Judgment
    13. Perspective
    14. Hope
    15. Love of Learning
    16. Kindness 
    17. Bravery
    18. Zest
    19. Social Intelligence
    20. Honesty
    21. Self-regulation
    22. Curiosity
    23. Spirituality
    24. Creativity
    25. Forgiveness
    26. Humility
    27. Prudence
    28. Humor
    29. Spirituality
    30. Perfectionism
    31. The Five Senses
    32. Connecting to the Past
    33. Self-Compassion
    34. Perspective
    35. Handling Strong Emotions
    36. Mindful People
    37. Mindful Relationships
    38. Mindful Learning
    39. Cultural Mindfulness
    40. Grieving Mindfully
    41. Selective Attention

Select a Level

Choose a level based on the needs and area of interest you want to target based on the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines or a similar framework and your own classes. 

Understand the Guidelines

The following rubrics were created at the novice high, intermediate mid, and advanced low levels to demonstrate the three areas of materials development utilized in this project. Use these rubrics to determine the parameters and guidelines for your chosen level and how to proceed in creation of additional materials. 

Create or Select a Passage

Now that you have selected a topic, search for or write a passage that does not infringe copyright* and has content that is relevant, interesting, and familiar to learners at the given level. The passages should be somewhere between 400-600 words in length. You may also choose parts of a passage or delete sections if the text is too long. 

*More information about copyright and fair use can be found on this website

In summary, please ensure content you use:

 -was not originally created for English language learning

-does not make profit

-will only be used in the classroom and is related to educational objectives

-is brief or a brief excerpt 

And remember, you must include a link to the original content following the passage. 

Level Passages

There are several analysis tools you may use to ensure that passages are appropriate for the given level. Texts may also need to be adapted and modified in order to reach the desired level. A description and example of how to do this will be given below. 

Lexile and Quantile Tools “Text Analyzer”

If you would like to use the Lexile text analyzer, first you need to sign up for a premium account. This will require a yearly subscription and only allows you to analyze 50 measures per month with a maximum of 500 words for each analysis. Please read the instructions as outlined in their guide before using it: Metametrics

The tool can only analyze text from magazine/web/newspaper/journal articles, passages, short stories, and books.

*It is important to note that this tool is not an official Lexile score and therefore you cannot publish the lexile measure. Instead, as indicated by the passages in this template, use the ACTFL level closest to the measure given. 

Lexile Level Estimates

    1. Novice High: 200-400L
    2. Intermediate Low: 400-600L
    3. Intermediate Mid: 600-800L
    4. Intermediate High: 750-900L
    5. Advanced Low: 850-1000L

Additional Leveling Options:

If you do not want to use the lexile analyzer, there are a variety of other free options. It is recommended that you use several together in order to have a more accurate leveling since each source by itself may not have complete reliability. 


This website will show the number of vocabulary in the K1, K2, Academic, and off-word lists. Here is a short tutorial on how to navigate this tool: 


This website gives a score for Reading Ease. The text analysis section will also show other areas such as lexical density. The primary scores to utilize in the analyses are Gunning Fog, Coleman Liau, and the Smog Index. 


This website is used to analyze text and give an estimated level for CEFR scores. However, a rough equivalent can be used to determine the ACTFL score. 

Flesch-Kincaid Scoring: 

This website gives several results from the text analysis. The one that will primarily be used for leveling text is the Flesch Reading Ease (FRE) score. 

These websites are a just a few suggestions. There are many other resources you may use to find lexile and readability scores. Here is an example of another website that gives similar information in different formats:

The additional websites ranges and averages are given for novice high, intermediate mid, and advanced low levels. 

Intermediate Low Lextutor (K1-K2) Reading Ease Gunning Fog Coleman Liau Smog Index CEFR FRE
Average 93% 96% 3.6 7.3 3 high A2 86
Range 90-98% 85-98% 2.5-5 6.5-9.5 2-4 high A2-high B1 80-90

Intermediate Mid Lextutor (K1-K2) Reading Ease Gunning Fog Coleman Liau Smog Index CEFR FRE
Average 89% 78% 10 5.5 mid B1 60
Range 85-95% 60-85% 5.5-8.5 8.5-13.5 4-7 B1-B2 45-80

Advanced Low Lextutor (K1-K2) Reading Ease Gunning Fog Coleman Liau Smog Index CEFR FRE
Average 89% 71% 9 10.5 7 mid B2 55
Range 85-92% 50-80% 7-10.5 9-14.5 5-8.5 low-high B2 40-70

Adapting the Text

Modify the passage as needed to meet the intended lexile range. To make passages easier, you can substitute low frequency and academic vocabulary for higher frequency words. Lextutor and Lexile Tools will give you a list of words to target. You can also change complex and compound sentences into simple sentences when doing so still makes sense. In other cases, you can change complex grammar structures such as future perfect progressive or passive voice into simple tenses. To make passages more difficult, simply do the opposite of the suggestions above. Refer to the Adapted Text Example to see part of a modified passage.

Reading Fluency Scores

Add the word count for the entire passage with the title directly after the passage. Also add a space for the time and WPM scores. All of these spaces should be right justified. See the example template for formatting guidelines Template and Formatting

URL Link

If applicable, following the reading fluency scores, provide a space to link the URL from the source you took the passage. Put the link after “Text adapted from:” 

Comprehension Questions

An additional recommended resource to creating effective multiple choice questions can be found in this document: 

Every passage should include 5-8 multiple choice comprehension questions following the passage based on the target level and abilities. Refer again to the ACTFL guidelines, the learning outcomes of your course, and the Rubrics as guides while you write these questions. 

*Note: remember that these materials should be written from a student's perspective and not as lesson plans. Therefore, please write all content and instructions simply in a manner that student's can understand and follow. 

Discussion Questions

Every passage should also include at least 1-2 discussion questions that allow students to critically think or draw on connections with the targeted positive psychology topic. As you write these questions, keep in mind how they will benefit the students. 

Example question: How do you feel when others say “thank you” to you? Think of an experience you had when somebody expressed gratitude to you and it had a positive effect on you.  

Additional Tasks

You may add any additional sections to compliment the reading passage such as pre-reading and post-reading activities. See the Template and Formatting for ideas and how to order these. For any media added, please include a direct URL link. 

Revise, Edit, and Pilot

Before submitting the passage for publication, please ensure that it has been revised and edited thoroughly, and piloted (if possible). Use this short Evaluation Checklist if you would like a guide to help you proofread and check that your materials are written correctly. 

Submit for Publication

Use this Google Form to complete your submission. We will contact you if we need any further information or permission to make modifications. 

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