We humans learn our language and culture through the stories and rhymes of tales we learned as children. By learning the twenty-six most popular and enduring stories collected in Open Sesame, ESL students learn about Americans and about life in America. Open Sesame facilitates discussions comparing and contrasting American folktales and stories with those of students' native cultures. Specific American cultural values are found in the text and debated by students who often find those values confusing and in conflict with their own values. The allusions learned from these American stories are extremely helpful for fluency.
Included are such classic tales as "Cinderella," "The Three Pigs," "Johnny Appleseed," and "Rip Van Winkle," and excerpts from more recent stories such as Charlotte's Web and The Wizard of Oz.
The goals of Open Sesame are to teach reading skills, build vocabulary, stimulate discussion, and develop critical-thinking skills. The text may also be of interest in the disciplines of children's literature, folklore, and cross-cultural studies.
The text is accompanied by cassettes that "tell" the stories for learners who have not yet acquired all the vocabulary needed to read these original stories and folktales on their own.