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Comic ideas take flight for youth

Posted: October 20, 2008 8:30 p.m.
Updated: December 22, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Portlyn Freeman and Billy Jebens draw and color a character throught up during the program.

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Using his super tasting powers, Incredible Python slithered onto the scene Friday to thwart a robbery attempt by super villain Rotten Broccoli.

At least that's the comic book story students in Canyon Springs Elementary School's after-school program created with the help of Atom and Portlyn Freeman, owners of Brave New World comics.

The art lesson tied in with the Sulphur Springs School District's focus on reading comprehension.

"Comic books are a fantastic literacy tool, actually," Portlyn Freeman said. "If you think about the economy of words that writers have to use since they have such a small space to work with, all of a sudden the quality of words goes up."

After the kids came up with a script, it was time to start drawing the comic.

"So let's draw a big picture of Incredible Python," Atom Freeman said. "Draw it however you want. That's what's so great about drawing for fun. You can't mess it up."

Fifth grader Ed Moreno, 10, got very creative with his drawing of Incredible Python.

"I made him green and he's got fangs coming out of his helmet and he's got a scaly surfboard," Ed said.

A grant allows Canyon Springs Elementary to offer the SAIL (Supporting All In Learning) program to 90 students for free. There is a waiting list for the after-school program that provides activities like homework help, technology, art, cooking and physical education.

Director Kathy Bullock is the one in charge of coming up with interesting activities.

"Kathy has tried to use every resource she can find to keep the kids engaged, and they're always really excited about coming here," said Assistant Principal Jane D'Anna.

Sixth grader Jasmin Ramos, 11, said she would much rather go to the SAIL program than go home after school.

"I like to play outside and do the sports," Jasmin said. "And I like to do the cooking because it's really fun and it tastes good."

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