MiniMod Reading for Inferences

App review by
Liz Panarelli, Common Sense Media
MiniMod Reading for Inferences App Poster Image
Basic but solid practice; passages have talk of war, crime.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

The bingo game format may be a bit difficult to navigate at first, but instructions on how to play are available. There are three subtly different difficulties for reading level, calibrated to grade level using the Spache and Dale-Chall scales (level red for grades 2 to 3.5, blue for 3.5 to 5, and green for 5 to 6.5). Three game modes are available: single player bingo, practice bingo, and multiplayer with nearby devices using Bluetooth. Each game asks up to 24 out of the 62 total questions. Game progress is not saved on exit, and game results are not scored or recorded. 

Violence & Scariness

Many of the passages and questions deal with violent topics such as war, weaponry, human and animal sacrifice, crime, and burial rituals. There is one image of a corpse, but in general the images and passages are not graphic.

Sexy Stuff

A few questions describe differences for boys and girls living and working in these societies, including coming of age and marriage rituals, but there is no sexual content.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A few passages describe fermenting and drinking beer, using smoke in a medicinal ceremony, and drinking a potion made from toads in order to see visions.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that MiniMod Reading for Inferences allows kids to practice reading passages and answer questions about Aztec, Inca, and Mayan societies. The questions ask kids to draw conclusions using clues from the passages, rather than pick out details specifically included in the text. For example, a passage about various punishments in Inca society is followed by a question about the likely general relationship between social class and the severity of punishment. Some of the questions discuss violent themes such as crime, human and animal sacrifice, and war. Beer, vision-inducing potion, and medicinal smoke are also mentioned. Incorrect answers provide a chance to review the passage or pick a new answer. Correct answers fill up a bingo board to win the game, but there are no scores or saved results. There are three reading difficulties based on grade levels 2 through 6. In the multiplayer game mode, players can connect to other devices using Bluetooth. A similar app, MiniMod Reading for Inferences Lite, does not include multiplayer mode but is significantly less expensive.

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Is it any good?

This app is very basic for the price. It doesn't have a fancy interface or game format. A few of the answers are cut off, and some of the photos still have copyright watermarks. The bingo board is simple as can be. It's also frustrating that game progress and scores aren't saved, and that new games often repeat questions from previous games.

But despite all the interface issues and the sometimes mature subject matter -- crime, beer, and human sacrifice, for example -- this app is one of just a few out there for practicing reading comprehension, and it's a solid one. The difficulty levels are standardized by grade level, and passages are interesting and will appeal to kids. For individual families, the lite version is probably enough, while this full version with multiplayer mode may be better for classrooms.

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