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The participants were 56 second and third year university students. Keywords: narrow reading. were purposively selected as reading materials for the study. a post-test. enrolled in a course titled. 5' 6'&78 '9'31 Abstract The purpose of this research was to investigate the effectiveness of the narrow reading technique on studentsJ English reading comprehension and motivation. Therefore. reading comprehension . a reading comprehension test of each reading passage. news article reading. English for Humanities and Social Sciences Students. written in 2002 and 2006. reading passages on the same topic for over about six hours appeared to have a negative impact on the motivation of some participants. However. it is suggested that each reading topic should not take longer than that so the technique will be beneficial for all proficiency groups. The results reveal significant improvement in studentsJ reading comprehension. and interview questions were employed to collect data. A pre-test. It was also found that moderate.and low-proficiency students were highly motivated by this technique. especially high-proficiency students. News stories on Thai coups.

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. 1981). Saengprathum. Undergraduate university students are required to study English for at least 12 credits. rates and one way to achieve this goal is by improving reading skills. with an aim to provide useful information for English teachers who are seeking ways to help improve the Thais need to improve their English literacy reading-proficiency levels of their students. it was found that many Thai students have a poor reading ability resulting from a lack of adequate reading vocabulary (Chaisuriya. . 1981). . An empirical study on this technique was also carried out in Korea by Cho. this research project focuses on the narrow reading technique proposed by Krashen (2004b. and a lack of language input (Chaisuriya. 2006. Ahn and Krashen (2005). six in general English and the other six in academic or technical English (Forley. 2006. Many I. outdated course books. In search of effective reading techniques for Thai students. the most commonly taught foreign language in Thailand. they are likely to last longer than other skills. 1999).- researchers agree that reading is the most important skill for most English students. inappropriate teaching methodologies. is a compulsory subject from the first grade onwards (Wongsothorn et al. 2005). shops and even hawkers in big cities like Bangkok find themselves learning broken English by trial and error. Changpueng. 1996). 2005). particularly in academic contexts (Rance-Roney. This study is the first attempt to apply the technique to teach reading comprehension in a Thai university context. 1995. and they will continue to help students understand texts more proficiently (Rivers. Introduction English. Lynch and Hudson. 1991). Once reading skills are mastered. 2005. leading to a higher rate of literacy. Limtrakarn. This is not to mention the shortage of English language proficiency employees in the increasing number of multinational corporations established in Asiaw while Thailand is badly in need of employees who can at least understand Englishw the effectiveness of existing English language teaching leaves much to be desired. Komin (1998: 265) indicates the need for English for Thai employees and calls for a better teaching technique: Employees in department stores. However.-/. Tang (2000) stresses that reading provides input for second language acquisition. 2001). It allows them to access information and knowledge from a variety of resources (Changpueng. out of necessity.

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With its emphasis on comprehensible input for language acquisition. the narrow-reading technique aims to make written language input comprehensible to readers. or specific topic to facilitate the language-acquisition process. author. Narrow reading provides students with more comprehensible input because zthe more one 178   . Krashen insists that language can only be acquired subconsciously. Narrow reading is theoretically influenced by the Input Hypothesis (Krashen. and a communicative orientation. concepts.1. Explicit or direct instruction is not considered helpful. Krashen (2004a) later prefers to call the hypothesis the comprehension hypothesis. instead of reading a variety of styles and topics (Krashen. The technique is similar to the reading-in-depth technique (Dubin. Through his Input Hypothesis. and an authorJs writing style. which facilitates learnersJ recognition of vocabulary. 1986). 1982) with its focus on subconscious language acquisition. 1996). Accordingly. comprehensible input through contextual or extra-linguistic support. background information on a topic. Narrow reading Narrow reading entails narrowing the input material of a second language to a single genre. Literature Review 2.  '#&"HIH"HI 4Y61Z 7 8861Z 1  '/ ] ^73'3 2554 II. It encourages students to read passages written by a single author. or passages on the same theme.

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-/. experienced improvement in their reading comprehension and vocabulary. Students are also exposed to a familiar set of vocabulary and grammatical structures. Apart from helping to develop comprehension and vocabulary.- reads. different types of text on the same topic. the more one will have background knowledge in a particular topic from a previous context to help them understand the current context{ (Changpueng. The feeling of being able to understand the texts motivates them to read more. Recent studies have revealed the effectiveness of narrow reading in promoting reading comprehension and vocabulary development. Lamme (1975) found that more developed readers are likely to read books written by a particular writer. Rance-Roney (1995) added that narrow reading helps to promote critical thinking. Cho. 1995). and helps expand their range of reading (Changpueng. Kyongho and Nation (1989) revealed that runningstory materials have the potential to facilitate lowfrequency word acquisition because they consist of a repeated set of words. Moreover. that help learnersJ vocabulary acquisition. 2005: 89). Cho and Krashen. smaller texts taken from one long text. which help them comprehend the reading texts. Ahn and Krashen (2005) found that beginning EFL learners. outside the most frequent word list. who spent 40 hours reading a series of six Clifford books. 2005. or sequential or . . Materials for effective narrow reading can be a collection of articles on the same theme.

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In this study.com. available at www. learners were provided with an orientation session to make sure they understood the narrowreading technique. both about Thai coups. The advantage of using news stories is that they are often written on particular issues and can run on for several days (Fredrickson. the reading texts were two authentic news stories from The Nation newspaper. Two news stories. 1986). were purposively selected as the reading topic for this study. English for Humanities and Social Sciences. 2001). the latter after the coup of that year. The main focus of this research is the development of learnersJ reading comprehension and motivation. The news articles were written in 2002 and 2006. Such characteristics make these kinds of news stories suitable for narrow-reading materials. in the second semester of the 2006 academic year at 179   . Krashen (2004a) suggested that explaining to learners the implicit languageacquisition theory behind the teaching or learning approaches used in class helps make sure that acquisition will take place. III. Consequently. Participants The participants in this research project were students enrolled in course number 1421206. Methodology 3. in this study.  '#&"HIH"HI 4Y61Z 7 8861Z 1  '/ ] ^73'3 2554 running stories on the same topic (Dubin.nationmultimedia. which is at the heart of the narrowreading technique.1.

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Based on their grade-point averages (GPA) from Foundation English I and II. . a pre-test. This course is compulsory for non-English majors at the Faculty of Liberal Arts. and took about one hour each to complete. and low-proficiency students. and 25 high. moderate. Accordingly. a reading comprehension test at the end of each passage. 19. There was also a student from the Faculty of Management Science who studied the subject as a free elective. Only students who regularly attended the 14 narrow-reading lessons and test hours were selected as participants. All students had already passed the prerequisite English I and II courses.- Ubon Ratchathani University. and interviews with the participants. both teachers followed the same lesson plans.2. To minimize any possible effects caused by different inputs from different teachers.-/. taken from two news stories. The participants were enrolled in two sections and were taught by two different teachers. there were 56 research participants from the following majors: Thai language and communication. The pre-test and post-test for this study were identical. These tests were based on two news stories from The . Chinese. history. a post-test. there were 12. 3. Research instruments The research instruments employed by this study included eight reading passages. respectively. and social development.

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The first story was zSpecial: Remembering October. which was divided into four articles.{ by Rojanaphruk (2004) and zThammasat slayings: StudentsJ monument wanted. yet difficult to forget{. zRemembering October 2{. The other four were from the news story zHard to remember.{ by Bhumiprabhas (2006) which was composed of these four parts: zHard to remember. During the 14 classroom hours. zAn embarrassing past{ and zA history of violence{. zThais recall life under totalitarian leadership. zA lost history for the losers{. zRemembering October 3{ and zRemembering October 4{. called zRemembering October 1{. the participants took one to two hours to read each story and take the reading-comprehension test.{ by Bhumiprabhas (2002). yet difficult to forget. These stories ranged from 250 to 651 words long.{ by Bhumiprabhas and Hongthong (2001). These stories included a vocabulary set similar to that which appeared in the eight narrow-reading passages used in the classroom. so the division did not affect the comprehension of the passages. Finally. There were twenty open-ended comprehension questions on these two stories with a maximum possible score of 15. eight reading passages taken from two long stories on the coup theme were used. On average. each with its own main ideas.  '#&"HIH"HI 4Y61Z 7 8861Z 1  '/ ] ^73'3 2554 Nation newspaper. Each story was originally written in four parts. the 180   . to facilitate the elicitation and analysis of deep and detailed interview data.

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Data collection The study was in a one group pre-test and post-test research design. Each interview was conducted in an informal and relaxing environment after the participants were informed that it would not affect their grades. comprising six participants from each proficiency group. the teachers acted as facilitators in the 14 hours of narrow reading. In the class. The structured interviews took about 10-15 minutes for each individual. the entire course (in which the study was conducted) included both narrow reading materials and extensive reading materials. the latter consisted of many different reading topics and themes. IV. . . These interview participants were randomly selected to represent their proficiency groups. consult their friends or look the words up in dictionaries. The pre-test was then administered after the orientation. Students read and underlined all the unknown vocabulary. The teachers encouraged them to guess the meanings of the underlined vocabulary from the context.- interviews were conducted with 18 participants. the participants were given an orientation regarding the narrow reading technique and the schedule for data collection.-/. Prior to the study. and ask teachers to ensure correct understanding. However. Thus. the first 14 class hours were used for narrow reading to avoid the interference of the latter materials.

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- 181 Difficult structures and vocabulary were reading-comprehension tests were used to calculate decontextualised.39 12. . StudentsJ scores from each of the eight Pre-test mean Post-test P mean score score (2-tailed) (out of 15) (out of 15) 5. T-Test results of the pre.and post-test mean scores Participant groups No. make connections between new passages and the previous ones. the teachers encouraged students to orally summarize the contents of the Table 1.001. Finally. The significant improvement in all groups.001.92 4. . the teachers tried to help students and interpreted. and the interviews were carried out.97 0. the moderate and the low proficiency participant groups confirmed the results of all of the participants in that they were each significantly different at p < 0.1. Data analysis Mean scores on the pre-test and post-test were compared using a T-Test.000 7. Results from the pre.04 9.and post-readingcomprehension tests The table above shows that the pre-test and the post-test mean scores of the entire sample were significantly different at p < . reveals the effectiveness of the narrow reading technique in improving studentsJ reading ability. particularly the low-proficiency students.16 6.-/. Data from the reading comprehension tests were analyzed separately from the data from the pre-test and posttest. V.25 4.000 0. by appointment. Results 6. the interview results were collated knowledge. with each of the 18 representatives of the three proficiency groups at the end of the datacollection processes. To activate student background means. The participants took the post-test during a separate class session. Finally.001 0.03 0. of participants All participants 56 High-proficiency participants Moderate-proficiency participants Low-proficiency participants 12 19 25 passage at the end of the class before they took the reading comprehension test afterwards.24 9.000 VI.and post-test of the high. The mean scores on the pre.

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- 182 6.0 8.0 The entire sample High-proficiency group Moderateproficiency group Low-proficiency group 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Reading comprehension test comprehension of each passage in the two stories helps us explore the effects of the narrow-reading technique on studentsJ reading comprehension.2. however. To conclude. They increased again from the fifth test to the last test. fell sharply in the fifth test in the transition to the second news story.0 0. The results of these tests are shown in the line graph below. Comparing the scores students received on their introduced. and the other four were for the passages from the second story. and then how the studentsJ comprehension level changes when passages in a new story are passage started with lower scores and continued to rise significantly until the last passage of each news story.0 7. Average scores of the total participants of different proficiency groups 9. The mean scores of the total participants indicated upward trends during the reading of each story: the scores increased steadily from the first to the fourth test. Each test consisted of ten open-ended questions. the lowest proficient students got the lowest average points on each test. Results of daily reading-comprehension tests A reading comprehension test was administered to students after they finished reading each passage to test their levels of comprehension.0 5. The first four tests were for the four passages from the first news story. student comprehension scores on each Average score Figure 1. However.0 6.0 4. .0 1. . We can use data to compare comprehension as students read additional passages from the same news stories.0 3.-/. They. Although there were improvements in all proficiency groups. the average starting score on the second news story was higher than that of the first.0 2.

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StudentsJ opinions on reading stories on a particular theme versus reading a variety of stories . and their suggestions for improving the teaching of the English for Humanities and Social Sciences Students course. which made it easy for them to comprehend difficult words.1%) in the high-proficiency participant group did not like the method. but became easier later because they could make use of the vocabulary found in the previous stories. They stated that narrow reading helped them guess the meanings of subsequent stories. There were 18 interviewees who comprised 32. The participants found that the reading passages were difficult at first.2). Results of the interviews The interviews took place after the participants had finished reading all the passages and taking all the tests. 6.9%) found that reading similar topics was useful vocabulary. see Section 3. The stories were related to each other and the vocabulary was on the same theme. Each student was interviewed using a set of questions designed to reveal their reflections on narrow-reading reading teaching techniques. The majority of participants said they also experienced faster reading rates in the later stories. and all the stories were about coups.- in some ways. However. Six students were randomly selected from each proficiency group. They teaching techniques The majority of the participants interviewed found it boring because there was no variety in the (88.4. In particular.3. their opinions about reading stories on a particular theme versus reading a variety of stories. Students= reflections on narrow-reading reading a few students (11. the low-proficiency proficiency students revealed that this method encouraged them to read more when they found that they could understand the English passages better than ever before. course Figure 2.-/. . proficiency 6.1% of all of the participants of the study (for the reason.

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They were asked if they preferred to read stories on a particular theme or on a variety of reading topics. providing them with the ability to look at society from different perspectives. Most high-proficiency students believed that reading on different topics would provide them with more content and knowledge. preferred reading stories on a particular theme to reading on a variety of topics. Many participants (66. Reading on various topics would make the lessons less boring. The reasons that some students preferred narrow reading were various. However. Some said that stories about similar events or a sequence of events were not confusing. The results are presented in Figure 2. 184   . Finally. Reading stories with similar vocabulary sets also helped them save time because they did not have to look up many new words in the dictionary. particularly from the lowest proficiency group. they suggested that a variety of topics would help broaden their horizons. participants with higher proficiency in English were more interested in reading materials on a variety of topics.7%). Students= opinions about reading themes Students were also interviewed about their preferences for reading materials. They also added that the stories on a particular theme helped them understand better.5.  '#&"HIH"HI 4Y61Z 7 8861Z 1  '/ ] ^73'3 2554 6.

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the passages were made up of similar sets of vocabulary. which is six class hours. Therefore. Conclusions and useful suggestions Out of 45 hours of class time.-/. pre-reading and postreading comprehension tests and reading . The eight passages dealt with one story theme. especially at the beginning of the course. a total of 14 hours were used for the narrow reading lessons and tests. Participants= suggestions Participants made some suggestions for the improvement of the teaching of the English for Humanities and Social Sciences Students course. The teachers should give a brief summary of the stories before letting students read in order to help students understand better. . Students also requested more grammar sessions. They also thought that student presentations would make the class more interesting and that more homework or assignments would help them understand better.6. They said it was useful to read stories on a particular theme. VII.- 6. They suggested the teachers ask students more questions concerning the contents of the passages to facilitate their accurate understanding. but each reading topic should be studied for no longer than two weeks. To measure the effectiveness of the narrow reading technique in improving student reading comprehension. the coups in Thailand.

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The drop in the sampleJs scores at the beginning of the second story is. the results of the reading comprehension tests also showed increases in studentJs reading comprehension abilities. studentsJ scores dropped significantly on the first test of the second news story. It is interesting that instead of having a higher score on the subsequent test. the result of changing the story. especially among moderate-proficiency and low-proficiency students. In other words. The differences in the mean scores of the pre-test and post-test for these two groups were greater than those of the high-proficiency group. Improvements are obvious in all proficiency groups. Although the two stories had the same theme. they were not exactly identical.000 level. It was found that for all participants. Second. they had higher scores on the later tests. Though students got lower scores at the beginning of the tests. Hence. were written by the same author.  '#&"HIH"HI 4Y61Z 7 8861Z 1  '/ ] ^73'3 2554 comprehension tests were administered at the end of each reading passage. and had similar sets of vocabulary. The pre-test and post-test scores of each student group were analyzed and compared. in fact. it is possible that although students were familiar with both the vocabulary 185   . reading different passages from the same news story was more znarrow{ than using a different story on the same topic. the mean scores on the pre-tests and the post-tests were significantly different at the .

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. 2005. The interviews with students revealed that most students liked and preferred the narrow reading technique more than reading a variety of topics. students from the low proficiency group particularly liked the technique because it helped them comprehend the English passages and resulted in higher scores in later tests. This was indicated by the fact that the studentsJ scores on the first test of the second news story were higher than those of the first test of the first story. after the first test on the first passage of the second story.- and writing styles. These low proficiency students might not have experienced such .-/. 1989. the first story was useful for reading the second story because both stories were on the same theme with similar sets of vocabulary and writing styles. Kyongho and Nation. However. . 1981). they might not have had the same amount of background knowledge provided by previous stories. The findings of this study confirm the effectiveness of narrow reading in improving reading comprehension ability (Cho et al. Krashen. it was found that despite using two different stories. The similar sets of vocabulary and writing styles in each passage on the coup story theme also provided readers with background knowledge to facilitate reading latter passages in the same story. the scores on subsequent tests went up suddenly and stood at high points until the last passage. Importantly. Moreover. This evidence shows the power of narrow reading.

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This finding is important. The study results inspire two important suggestions for the implementation of the narrow reading technique in classroom. in order to keep all groups of student motivated. In contrast. the lower the motivation in reading all students had. (2005) that language learners narrow their reading first and expand their reading later. This finding may also explain the results of the eight comprehension tests. they were not higher than the peak score found on the last test of the first story. First. and to some extent it supports the suggestion by Krashen (1981) and Cho et al. this reading technique may be very useful especially for 186   . especially high proficiency students. some high proficiency students preferred reading a variety of topics better. However. this reading time might not be generalizable in other contexts due to the fact that students may have different motivation levels for different reading themes. the time spent on each reading theme should not be too long. Although the studentsJ test results on the second news story were high. Second. The longer the time used on a single topic.  '#&"HIH"HI 4Y61Z 7 8861Z 1  '/ ] ^73'3 2554 improvement in understanding English passages before. They felt bored reading stories on the same topic for a long period. The participants suggested that the most effective amount of time for reading each story theme may be as long as six hours so that they can maintain their reading motivation. in classes with students from all proficiency levels.

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com [2001. October 14]. (Online) Available: http://www. October 7]. Bhumiprabhas. Hard to remember. S. (Online) Available: http://www. (Online) Available: http://www. The Nation. this study is to be considered an expository research. Finally. The Nation. yet difficult to forget. S. Bhumiprabhas. so it is recommended that more studies be conducted. October 6]. Special: Remembering October.nationmultimedia. However.nationmultimedia. . . Focus: Thammasat slayings: StudentsJ monument wanted.. References Bhumiprabhas. which leads to second language acquisition. S.nationmultimedia. which bolstered their improvement. & Hongthong. P. This study found that low proficiency students were particularly motivated by narrow reading. it can be concluded that reading stories on a particular theme is effective in helping students comprehend reading passages and improve their reading comprehension ability. investigations on different approaches to narrow reading apart from reading passages excerpted from long stories on the same theme should be carried out.com [2006.- low proficiency students. The Nation.-/. Of particular interest.com [2002.

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14 (20). In W. S. (Online) Available: http://bangkokpost. California English. F. Reading. S. The power of narrow reading. K. Fredrickson. J. 1 (1). August 24]. Foley. Journal of English Studies. 84-105. Burapa University. RELC Journal.. English reading needs and problems of graduate students of business. Narrow reading ] a powerful way to improve your English. 2005. In F. Reading Improvement Journal. Educational Services.net [2001. & Krashen. & Krashen. K. Dealing with texts. Changpueng. K. Dubin. English in Thailand.). The Nation. E. MA: Addison-Wesley. 2005. A. S. Komin. 1986. Eskey. Cho. D. Ahn. Cho. Grabe (Eds. From Sweet Valley Kids to Harlequins in one year... Dubin. 88-99. A. 36 (2). English language learning in the 21st zAsian{ century. 2. Burapa University. & W. 58-64. T. Renandya & 187   .  '#&"HIH"HI 4Y61Z 7 8861Z 1  '/ ] ^73'3 2554 Chaisuriya. 2006. A. Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. 127-160). P. Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences. 1998. 42 (1). 18-19. The effects of narrow reading of authentic texts on interest and reading ability in English as a foreign language. 223-224. 2005. 1995. Teaching second language reading for academic purposes (pp.

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(Online) Available: http://www. Language Magazine. P. S. Oxford: Pergamon. Learners and Language Learning Anthology Series 39 (pp. Paper presented at the 13th International Symposium and Book Fair on Language Teaching. The case for narrow reading.- G. Are reading habits and abilities related? The Reading Teacher. 263269). Reducing the vocabulary load and encouraging vocabulary learning through reading newspapers. Limtrakarn. . Krashen. S. Taiwan..-/. 21-27. 1982. Principles and practice in second language learning and acquisition. November]. 17-19. Kyongho. Taipei. S. S. 1981. The case for narrow listening. System. 30 (1). 1975.sdkrashen. 24 (1). 1989. Paper presented at CULI . 3 (5). S. Getting Thai students to read effectively.com/ articles/eta_paper/index. Krashen. TESOL Newsletter. Jacobs (Eds). Lamme. Krashen. 1999. L.html [2004a. Applying the comprehension hypothesis: Some suggestions. M. Reading in a Foreign Language. 6 (1). & Nation. 23. H. Krashen. The case for narrow reading. S. 15 (6). 1996. 2004b. 323-335. 97-100. Singapore: SEAMEO Regional Language Center. Krashen.

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PASAA. Using cooperative concept mapping skill to teach ESL reading. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2000. Bangkok: Thailand. July] Rivers. Tang. H.. In M. PASAA. Bangkok: Ministry of University Affairs.. S. Thais recall life under totalitarian leadership. P. 1981.. & Hudson. (Online) Available: http://www.cal.  '#&"HIH"HI 4Y61Z 7 8861Z 1  '/ ] ^73'3 2554 International Conference. EST reading. Chinthammit. P. B. 216-232). Teaching English as a second language (2nd ed. Sukamolsun. 1996. Celce-Murcia (Ed). 2001. Washington DC: Center for Applied Linguistics. Ratanothayanonth. Policies of English language teaching and learning in Thai higher education.. 26. The Nation... P. ELT Collaboration: Towards Excellence in the New Millennium. J. T.). 89-103. Rance-Roney.org [1995. June 18]. P. S. & Noparumpa. Saengprathum. Rojanaphruk. 77-92. 30. Massachusetts: Heinle & Heinle.com [2004. National profiles of language education: Thailand. pp. A. (Online) Available: http://www. Teaching foreign language skills (2nd ed. W. Lynch. M. Wongsothorn. 188   .nationmultimedia. Transitioning adult ESL learners to academic programs. 1991.

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