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Oct 03

Dandelions.com Chooses an Inspirational Mom: Tracey Weil, Tales2Go

Inspirational Mom: Tracey Weil

OCTOBER 3, 2012

“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.” ~ Jacqueline Kennedy (quote taken from Tales2Go site).

One of the things that I feel very passionate about is promoting a love of reading and writing in children.  I so enjoyed escaping into my books as a child and still love that feeling of getting so immersed you forget the time.  So I am happy to spotlight Tracey Weil, who is the co-founder of Tales2Go.   They offer a large selection of audio books for children – on the go.  It is such a wonderful way to entertain and educate children with stories that range from classics such as those found at Mrs.P’s Magic Library to new children’s picture books.  Tales2Go is a 2010 Moms Choice Gold Award Winner and 2011 Parents Choice Award Winner and the New York Times chose it as a “Top Pick” iPhone App! I had a chance to speak to Tracey about their company and how she manages to handle being a mom and business owner.

Tell us how the idea to do Tales2Go came about?

As many parents of small children know, driving around town with kids in the car can be a challenge.  A friend introduced us to audio books and our kids loved it; they thought it was entertaining and we knew it was good for them (i.e. win-win).  The only issue (at the time) was easily getting them into the car: keeping track of the physical CDs, a limited selection of books and stories at the library, the difficulty in downloading and syncing stories online and the expense of buying new CDs were among the obstacles. One day, while venting my frustrations about all this to my husband, I pointed to my iPhone and said, “I just want all the stories in there!”  And, that was the spark that began Tales2Go: the notion that audio books should be as easy as streaming music from services such as Pandora or Spotify.

While we created Tales2Go with parents in mind, it’s become a school-first business.  Many parents subscribe, but are doing so at the behest of teachers, librarians and reading specialists.  Perhaps not well known is that audio books have been used for decades in classrooms as a pathway for getting kids excited about and skilled at reading, at all reading levels.  Listening to stories exposes kids to vocabulary and builds critical fluency, comprehension and listening skills.  In fact, the new Common Core Standards being adopted by schools has a section dedicated to speaking and listening.  Tales2Go just makes makes the process of selecting and playing audio books simpler.

What has been one of the more rewarding parts of creating Tales2Go?

The most rewarding aspect of creating Tales2go is the feedback we get…often from a teacher, parent or grandparent sharing a story about a particular student or child getting excited about a book or character and the conversations that ensue.  As a family, we listened to Around The World in 80 Days recently on a drive to and from New York, and not only enjoyed the story, but talked about it for days, e.g., could someone really make it around the world that fast on trains and steam ships, etc.

What has been one of the biggest challenges for you as a business owner and mom – how do you juggle so many hats?

With three grade-school kids, a yellow lab puppy and a start-up company, it can be really tough to keep all the trains running on time.  It helps to have my husband as my co-worker and chief supporter.  Together we divide and conquer to run the business.  Really the hardest part has been there’s very little separation between work and home; we need to be better at separating that for the sake of our kids.

Any news you want to share with our dandelion moms?

My big discovery with audio stories is that for children, it’s just as entertaining as screen time… but so much better for them.  So, I love that when my children ask for a story, I can always say yes.  Listening sparks their imaginations and generates priceless mental images.  Of course we let our kids watch television as well, and play on the computer, but at least we have another trick in the bag as well.

If you’re new to Tales2Go, one tool that makes using Tales2Go really simple is our search-able database.  You can search for stories by author, title, subject matter, etc., so that makes it easy to find stories that your children will love.

We’ve also just launched a desktop version of Tales2Go where our listeners now have the flexibility to access our entire library on computers, desktops and laptops (Mac or PC) in addition to Apple mobile devices such as iPads, iPod Touches and iPhones.  The new desktop version has many of the same great features as the app, such as a free 30-day trial, bookmarking and favorites.  The desktop version takes the search-able database idea one step further with an advanced multivariable search capability.  What that means is that a listener can combine multiple criteria into one search, e.g., a less than 60-minute story for a 3-5th grader from recorded books.  Multivariable search will be added to the iOS version of the service in the coming months.

We offer a 30-day free trial, so I really encourage all parents to just give it a try.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how entertained your children will be!

Thanks so much Tracey!  Providing a reasonably priced product that allows children to enjoy and help promote literacy is no small feat.  I love to hear about women in business helping to make positive change in the world around us!

Linke link to their website:  www.tales2go.com

Link to their new desktop version for computers:  www.tales2go.com/audiobook-desktop-player/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Tales2Go
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/Tales2Go
Tales2Go’s iTunes Preview page: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tales2go/id458539653?mt=8

For the full article, please take a look here