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Press Release: NewSchools Venture Fund And Maryland Fund Tales2Go To Boost Reading Achievement
Investment acknowledges the importance of adding a listening component to early childhood literacy and elementary reading instruction
Bethesda, MD – January 16, 2014 – Tales2Go Inc., a provider of audio books for early childhood programs and primary schools, announces today that education venture philanthropy organization NewSchools Venture Fund and the Maryland Venture Fund (MVF), the venture arm of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, led a $750K investment round in the company.
Tales2Go is a Netflix-like subscription service that streams thousands of name-brand audio book titles from popular publishers to desktops, laptops and mobile devices in the classroom and beyond, giving users instant, unlimited and simultaneous access. For the first time, a teacher can assign the same audio book to an entire class or grade.
“Funding from NewSchools and MVF is a game changer for our company,” said Co-Founder and CEO of Tales2Go William Weil. “Beyond the obvious benefits of additional finances, NewSchools and MVF bring important credibility and support to our technology and purpose. Audio books are more than a nice library resource, or good for struggling readers, they are an important tool for reading achievement in the classroom and a needed resource to aid parents at home.”
In the U.S., just 33% of fourth graders are proficient readers, according to data from the National Assessment of Educational Process. The study also revealed that students who are not reading at level by the end of third grade were four times more likely not to graduate from high school. The problem is so acute that 32 states and the District of Columbia have statutes in place to improve third grade reading proficiency.
“Tales2Go shares Maryland’s commitment to innovation, discovery and investment in education and I am proud to welcome this dynamic young company to our State,” Governor Martin O’Malley said. “I am confident their industry-leading platform and our wealth of education resources, high-quality workforce and vibrant network of innovators and entrepreneurs will lead to continued growth and success for Tales2Go and for Maryland.”
“We’re excited to be backing Tales2Go, which is providing an increasingly important tool to support literacy for every child, regardless of their location,” Jennifer Carolan, managing partner, NewSchools Seed Fund, said. “Founders William and Tracey Weil are the right entrepreneurs to pioneer the potential of audiobooks as a critical resource for educators and parents alike to address the reading comprehension crisis.”
Tales2Go supports the development of literacy skills during the most critical early childhood and elementary years, when students acquire a foundation of vocabulary and fluency necessary for academic success. Listening skills are given special emphasis within the Common Core State Standards, as literacy experts have long understood that children need to be good listeners in order to become good readers. The Tales2Go service is used differently across ages and grade levels, ranging from individual to group use with or without physical books in hand.
For more information on Tales2Go, please visit: www.tales2go.com
Tales2Go is a Netflix‐like service that streams thousands of name-brand audio book titles from leading publishers to desktops, laptops and mobile devices in the classroom and beyond. The Company has innovated on both the delivery and business model of distributing audio books to schools, early childhood programs and parents, giving users instant, unlimited and simultaneous access to its full catalog. Literacy experts have long understood that children need to be good listeners in order to become good readers since proficient reading is a combination of listening comprehension (i.e. vocabulary and fluency) and decoding skills. Tales2Go offers piloting opportunities as well as monthly and annual subscription plans, including bulk pricing for schools. More information at www.tales2go.com.
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