Visiting the Book Loft with My Mentee

Yesterday I had the pleasure to meet up with my mentee, Payton, and share with her one of my favorite Columbus hidden gems and neighborhoods, The Book Loft in German Village. The Book Loft is a quirky book store nestled in the heart of one of Columbus’s oldest neighborhoods. Thousands of books are stacked on the shelves in each of the 32 tiny rooms of the historic home that the shop resides in.

Payton has been coming to Columbus semi regularly for the last few years as her sister in a current OSU junior. She has explored much of the city with her family, but never made it to German Village. She has a friend who raves about, so she was happy to make the trip when I suggested it for our spring explore Columbus outing.

Payton is an avid reader. She’s shared her book worm habits with me before. This is why I thought the trip would be an excellent choice for us.

We met up outside of Smith-Steeb, Payton’s dorm hall and my former residence, on an early spring afternoon. We crossed the campus green to High Street to wait for the bus that would take us South into the city. We rode the number 2 down through Short North, chatting as we went. Payton had recently tried a new restaurant in the neighborhood, NorthStar. She visited for a floormate’s birthday the night before. We discussed the neighborhood and how there was a big divide between the college side and the young professionals/downtown side. High Street was busy with people decked out in green for St. Patrick’s day.

Payton is working on her resume to apply for the Wexner Center for the Arts Internships that just opened up. She is interested in the Art and Resilience position as it aligns with her career interests of helping and healing people through art. Payton is working towards becoming an art therapist. She’s also working on pursuing research opportunities as she anticipates they will be beneficial when it comes time for her to apply to graduate school.

Payton and I arrived at the book store and spent the next two hours browsing the stacks. Each room in the shop is organized around a different genre such as LGBTQIA+ Romance, United States History, Horror, or Science. Payton and I both agreed that our favorite room was the essay collections. We spent an embarrassingly long amount of time flipping through the pages of each postcard book in the room over. The Book Loft has feels like a grown up Scholastic book fair. There are many literacy accessories like the post cards, book marks, and tote bags displayed in between the shelves.

After roaming through each of the four wings Payton paid for a book of poems and we headed outside back to downtown to catch our bus. We rode the number 8 though downtown, the arena district, and Vicky Village. Payton hadn’t been to these parts of Columbus and enjoyed the new scenery.

Payton and I would definitely go back if given the chance. While it is a rather long bus ride (35 minutes from South campus) it is worth the commute. The Book Loft is like no other book store in Columbus or Ohio for that matter. German Village has a special kind of charm that is hard to find in a city of Columbus’s age.

If returning I would recommend going a little earlier in the day than us, (We arrived just before 4.) so you could grab lunch at Katzinger’s Deli before hand. Katzinger’s is a the go to place for delectable sandwiches in the city. Alternatively, visiting later in the night after sunset would also be a wonderful experience as the courtyard of the shop is wrapped in fairy lights and the star light makes German Village feel like it’s out of fairy tale.

I highly recommend the experience to my fellow scholars as they complete the mentorship this program spring. It is highly engaging and sure to be a crowd-pleaser for you and your mentee. Even if you’re not an avid reader the shop is so unique it is sure to be interesting.

This experience taught us about the the diversity of our city and the lived experiences of it’s residence. On the way we were given a window into the world’s of our neighbors on the bus, in German Village, and in the book store. While it very easy to stay in the 43210 as students, it is so enriching to get out in the community and experience what Columbus is like for it’s permanent residents.

What We Can Learn from a Picture of a Dinosaur

During table choices students have the option to work with homemade dinosaur puzzles. Four sets have been made of the puzzles in the image above. Each is of a different species of dinosaur.

A prekindergarten student comes to sit down at the table where I am working with two other children. He grows quickly frustrated and requests for help. He is an older student and needs only verbal prompting and encouragement to complete the task. Once truly started he assembles the puzzle quickly. I offer him the puzzle that is in my spot. He declines and reaches for the simpler two piece puzzles in the middle of the table. Photos of six dinosaurs have been printed, laminated, and cut in half.

“I’m going to make silly ones!” he exclaims. (Objective 11e)

“Oh, you’re going to mix them up. That will be funny.” I say.

He places the tail end of one with the front end of another. I do the same. I describe that mine has a Triceratops tail and T-rex face. He remarks that his has a T-rex tail but is unsure of what the front half is. I suggest that we could look in the dinosaur book to find out. He grabs the dinosaur encyclopedia from the library and turns page by page looking for a match. He finds one. (Objective 13, 17)

“There! What’s that say?” he points to the heading text at the top left of the page. (Objective 17b)

“Stegosaurus!” I say.

He repeats me.

In the background of the page is another dinosaur that I recognize from the figurines in the block area. I tell him that I’ll be right back. I grab the toy and return back to the table. “It matches,” I say, placing it next to the page.

He looks from the book to the dinosaur to me and back again. He smiles.

“Maybe we can find the name of this dinosaur in the book too.” I remark.

He picks up the dinosaur and turns it on it’s belly. “What’s that say?” he shows it to me. (Objective 12a)

In teeny tiny letters below MADE IN CHINA reads PARASAUROLOPHUS.

“Parasaur-olo-phus!” In one of few times since my elementary years, decoding does not come easily to me. “You remembered that the names were on their backs! I didn’t know that.”

He gleams with pride.

We flip through the book again looking for the rest of the unknown dinosaurs, but he gets distracted after turning to the front.

“What’s this?” he asks.

“It’s the table of contents.” I point to the words at the top of the page. “It tells what is on each page of the book.”

He looks over the spread in wonder. (Objective 17a)

“What’s that say?” he points to “Herrerasaurus.”

I read the name then point to the 33 beside it. “There’s a photo and more information on page 33. This is page 4.” I point to the number in the corner of the page.

He turns carefully, reading each page number aloud as he goes until he gets to page 33. He stops and looks to the top of the page. He recognizes the word from the table of contents. He points and recites then looks up at me with excitement on his face. He flips back to the front of the book to try again. (Objective 20a, 20c, 18b, 11d)

After using the table of contents a few more times, he returns his attention back to the puzzles in front of him. He matches a few up, but the task is well within his zone of achieved development. He begins to grow bored. (objective 11a)

“I have an idea!” I exclaim. I flip over the 12 dinosaur halves. “We can play a matching game.”

He looks on confused.

I model flipping over two cards one at a time. On the second try I find a match. “That’s how you play.”

He grins, now fully on board. (Objective 11e)

We flip the cards all over again and he begins the game. With each turn of the card he says the dinosaur name that he has just learned. I follow suit. He waits his turn patiently, accepts defeat with grace, and wins without gloating. We play until it is time to transition to morning snack. (Objective 9a, 1a, 1b, 11a)

Learning Objectives (Aligned with Teaching Strategies GOLD)
  • 1. Regulates own emotions and behaviors
  • 2a. Forms relationships with adults
  • 7a. Uses fingers and hands
  • 8. Listens to and understands increasingly complex language
  • 9. Uses language to express thoughts and needs
  • 10. Uses appropriate conversational and other communication skills
  • 11. Demonstrates positive approaches to learning
  • 12. Remembers and connects experiences
  • 13. Uses classification skills
  • 17. Demonstrates knowledge of print and its uses
  • 18. Comprehends and responds to books and other texts
  • 20. Uses number concepts and operations
  • 25. Demonstrates knowledge of the characteristics of living things

Complete Teaching Strategies GOLD Objectives