This is yet another example of intelligence amplification by Google.
I'd been wondering where I could find readable texts for an older novice reader. My son reads at a first grade level, but his interests are age appropriate. There's not much that combines the right reading level and topic.
On a whim I typed "reading exercises" into Google. The first hits I got back were for teaching English as a second language (ESL), including this overview.
Duh. Of course, obvious in retrospect.
I'll report how well these work with the OS X word reader services and Safari.
Update: Well, the good news is I figured out how to create a lightweight OS X 10.3 reading tool by assigning a keyboard shortcut to the Safari-compatible OS X speech service. The bad news is the ESL texts I found were awful. I suspect there's much better stuff locked on Chinese web sites, but I'd need to read Chinese. I've gotten another idea though, and it might be a good one. More to say if it works ...