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    children's literacy, reading tips

    My Orton-Gillingham Comprehensive Training Experience

    If you follow me on Instagram, you may have recently seen me participating in a 30-hour Orton-Gillingham comprehensive training course. The comprehensive training is just ONE training option available if you want to learn the Orton-Gillingham methodology. Trainings and style can vary. You can view the different training descriptions that the Institute for Multi-sensory Education (IMSE) has here.

    I chose the comprehsive course that also has a practicum in order to learn the approach and methods inside and out. My ultimate goal is to become a Certified Orton-Gillingham Tutor if possible. I took my training course through IMSE (The Institute for Multi-Sensory Education). There are other companies that train in the Orton-Gillingham methodology.

    What is Orton-Gillingham?
    Orton-Gillingham is a highly structured approach that breaks reading and spelling down into smaller skills involving letters and sounds, and then building on these skills over time. It was the first approach to use explicit, direct, sequential, systematic, multi-sensory instruction to teach reading, which is not only effective for all students but essential for teaching students with dyslexia.” (Definition taken from the IMSE website.)

    The History of Orton-Gillingham
    Orton-Gillingham was among the first teaching approaches designed to help struggling readers by explicitly teaching the connections between letters and sounds. In the 1930s, neuropsychiatrist and pathologist Dr. Samuel T. Orton and educator, psychologist Anna Gillingham developed the Orton-Gillingham approach to reading instruction for students with “word-blindness,” which would later become known as dyslexia.” (Definition taken from the IMSE website.)

    What is the Orton-Gillingham Methodology?
    The Orton-Gillingham Methodology is a direct, multisensory, structured, sequential, diagnostic, and prescriptive way to teach literacy. When reading, writing, and spelling does not come easily to individuals, such as those with dyslexia (or any new or struggling readers). It is most properly understood and practiced as an approach, not a method, program, or system. In the hands of a well-trained and experienced instructor, it is a powerful tool of exceptional breadth, depth, and flexibility.

    It has been proven by research that when using a diagnostic, systematic, structured, multisensory approach faithfully, you take the guesswork out of reading.

    My Training Course Experience
    I’ll be honest and say I had no idea what to expect prior to taking this training course. While I was familiar with Orton-Gillingham, I had never used it and really didn’t know that much about it besides it being an effective approach to teach reading.

    Since I don’t have an education background, (I have an IT background) I was unsure how quickly I’d be able to catch on and grasp the concepts. However, the instructor for our class at IMSE was AMAZING! She was a delight to learn from and very knowledge about all things Orton-Gillingham, literacy and phonological awareness. She made me feel at ease from day one right up until the last day.

    Due to COVID, my training course was virtual and I had about 15 – 17 other people in my class. I was glad that the course was interactive giving you the opportunity to work in smaller groups during breakout sessions. The small group time allowed you time to really practice and hone the skills being taught by the instructor. In addition, it gives you the opportunity to communicate with others in the class and provide each other with constructive feedback.

    The class started at 8am each day and finished up around 3:30pm for a total of 30 hours of Orton-Gillingham training. At the end of the course you receive a certificate of completion for the course. Please note: That certificate doesn’t mean you are a Certifified OG tutor, there is additonal training required for that which includes the practicum.

    IMSE provided me with the following materials:

    • IMSE Comprehensive Training and Assessment Manual
    • Recipe for Reading by Bloom and Traub
    • IMSE Comprehensive Syllable Division Word Book
    • Phonological Awareness: Assessment Tools & Strategies by Zgonc
    • IMSE Phoneme Grapheme Card Pack
    • IMSE Syllable Division Cards
    • Set 1 IMSE Decodable Readers
    • Blending Board
    • Sand (for kinesthetic learning)
    • IMSE Interactive OG (online lesson planning tool) One-year subscription (additional years will require a renewal fee)

    Some of the concepts I learned in the course include:

    • Encoding and decoding words
    • Syllable division patterns (multi-syllable words)
    • Vowel Intensive
    • Fluency
    • Red Words
    • Three-Part Drill
    • Phonological awareness
    • Vocabulary Development
    • Comprehension
    • Assessments
    • Guidelines for Weekly Lesson Planning for Students

    Here are a few things I learned that I thought were interesting:

    • Dyslexia affects 1 in 5 people and it runs in families. Children DO NOT outgrow dyslexia. Children with dyslexia grow up to be adults with dyslexia.
    • Our brains are wired for speech, not reading.
    • The four phases of reading: pre-alphabetic phase, partial-alphabetic phase, full alphabetic phase, and consolidated phase.
    • The six stages of reading development
    • The Cat/Kite Rule (The Rules for letters C & K)

    My training experience was absolutely amazing and so eye-opening! Who knew learning to read and teaching others to read could be so seamless and easy to comprehend? Throughout the course I kept thinking, all children should have the access to be able to learn to read this way. I definitely believe Orton-Gillingham should indeed be taught in every classroom. I truly believe Orton-Gillingham can make all children better readers. Here are a few reasons why I think this based on the things I learned during my training:

    • The Orton-Gillingham methodology uses systematic instruction techniques and resources to teach new concepts in the exact same way every time. By doing this, the brain is not expending energy trying to figure out a new method. Instead, the brain expects the routine of learning and can focus on the new concept being taught. Brilliant and way less confusing!
    • When teaching new concepts, the steps are clear and teach the rules one at a time. Each step builds from the previous step, building from simple to complex.
    • Learning is individualized to each student. Students should be able to move through the program at an individualized pace which allows for developing fluency and automaticity for each step. Students only move from one step to the next as they build fluency for each level of language skills.
    • Each student’s skill development is monitored along the way with assessments. The instructional practices are built upon what was observed in the previous lesson and what is judged to be necessary to move the student forward in the next lesson.

    It’s also important to note that students with dyslexia need to master the same basic knowledge about language as any other learner. However, because of their dyslexia, they sometimes need more help when it comes to sorting, recognizing, and organizing language.

    How I’m Planning to Use My Orton-Gillingham Training

    As I mentioned earlier, my utlimate goal is to become a Certified Orton-Gillingham Tutor to help beginning and struggling readers learn how to read better. Since taking the course I’ve been continuing to use the skills I learned in class with my two children at home. I am also working with a Certified OG Instructor who is giving me a few hours of coaching in preparation for me embarking on the practicum. The practicum is a lot of work and it requires you to pass the KPEERI exam.

    In addition, I have now acquired my first Kindergarten student who I will be tutoring starting next month. I need to complete 50 hours of tutoring which will be great pracice for me and allow me to keep my skills sharp. I’m excited for this new journey and look forward to seeing the progress my student makes in the coming months.

    I’ll keep you posted on my journey along the way!

    If you’d like more information about Orton-Gillingham or the Institute for Multi-Sensory Education please visit the IMSE website. There you can also find out the training requirements and pricing for each of the courses they offer. You can also purchase some of their products.

    Your turn: What questions do you have about Orton-Gillingham? Feel free to ask your questions in the comments.

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    blog tours, children's books, giveaways, STEM

    One Step Further Blog Tour by Katherine Johnson with Her Daughters

    Welcome to the One Step Further Blog Tour!

    To celebrate the release of One Step Further by Katherine Johnson and her daughters Joylette Hylick and Katherine Moore, and illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow on January 5th, blogs across the web are featuring exclusive photos and stories from the life of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson, plus 5 chances to win a hardcover copy!

    Music and Math
    A never-before-seen interview with Katherine and her daughters that didn’t end up in the final book
     
    Joylette and Kathy in 1954
     
    Joylette: Our whole family was also very musical. We played instruments: piano, organ, violin, cello. Music is a lot like math. One beat, two beats, three beats, four.
    Kathy: Our home was full of music. Music and math.
    Joylette’s violin

    Katherine: We found joy with each other and in music.

    Joylette: Mom directed the church choir and each of us sang in one choir or another. I also joined and played piano for the glee club at school. In 8th grade, I learned the violin. Our school orchestra conductor warned the other kids not to laugh when—
    Kathy: At first, their orchestra sounded like cats!
    Joylette: Did you snicker?
    Kathy: I smiled.
     
    Katherine: In the meantime, Jimmie started getting hammering headaches. The doctors said he needed surgery.
    Joylette: Daddy kept getting weaker and weaker while I was in high school.
    Kathy: His sickness was scary. “Lower your voices. Try to help.”
    Joylette: Playing music comforted me. Four beats to a measure. Half notes. Quarter notes. I understood music’s symphonies and rhythms, unlike life’s. I conducted the student choir, performed Handel’s “Messiah” and learned the organ.  
    Kathy: Taking care of Daddy made me dream of being a physical therapist.
    Joylette: That summer we spent our days with him at the hospital.
     
    Katherine: Every generation pushes the next one forward, just as each note propels the next.

    Some of the family’s sheet music
    Joylette: My parents’ passion for music had helped me find mine.
    Kathy: Their love of education made our brilliant minds shine.
    Joylette: In 1958, Hampton University offered me a partial music scholarship. I majored in math, but played piano and organ, sang, and helped conduct the choir.
    Kathy: In high school, I sang and played piano. Since Joylette and Connie had played violin, I moved to my own rhythm. I found the cello mellow and soothing. 
    Joylette: Eventually, I played the 9-foot grand piano and the big organ in Hampton’s Ogden Hall.

    *****

    Blog Tour Schedule:

    February 22nd – Multicultural Children’s Book Day Blog

    February 23rd – Here Wee Read

    February 24th – Make a Way Blog

    February 25th – BookHounds

    February 26th – Frantic Mommy

     

    Buy: Amazon | Indiebound | Bookshop

     
     
    Follow National Geographic Kids: Website | Twitter | Books Twitter | Facebook | Youtube
     
    This inspirational picture book reveals what is was like for a young black mother of three to navigate the difficult world of the 1950s and 60s and to succeed in an unwelcoming industry to become one of the now legendary “hidden figures” of NASA computing and space research.
     
    Johnson’s own empowering narrative is complemented by the recollections of her two daughters about their mother’s work and insights about how she illuminated their paths, including one daughter’s fight for civil rights and another’s journey to become a NASA mathematician herself. The narrative gracefully weaves together Johnson’s personal story, her influence on her daughters’ formative years, her and her daughters’ fight for civil rights, and her lasting impact on NASA and space exploration. Filled with personal reflections, exclusive family archival photos, and striking illustrations, readers will be immersed in this deeply personal portrayal of female empowerment, women in STEM, and the breaking down of race barriers across generations. Historical notes, photo/illustration notes, and a time line put the story into historical and modern-day context.
     
    The inspirational tale of Johnson’s perseverance is both intimate and global, showcasing the drive of each generation to push one step further than the last. With its evocative family album-style format and novel approach to storytelling, One Step Further is sure to inspire the next generation of rising stars.
     
    “Engaging, collage-style art augments the text, with speech bubbles, archival family photographs, and Barlow’s child-friendly illustrations. Concurrently accessible and intimate, this book will both inform readers and inspire them to reach for the stars.” 
    Publishers Weekly
     
    “A concise, engaging story of a Black family in the South during the Civil Rights era.” 
    Booklist
     
    “The blend of Johnson’s and her daughters’ voices is intimate and inspiring.” 
    Horn Book 
     
     
    Joylette (L), Kathy (R), Katherine (F) 
     

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Katherine Johnson was an American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. crewed spaceflights. She calculated and analyzed the flight paths of many spacecraft during her more than three decades with the U.S. space program, and her work helped send astronauts to the moon. She died on February 24, 2020. 

     
    ABOUT THE CO-AUTHORS: Joylette Goble Hylick and Katherine “Kathy” Goble Moore grew up during the space race of the 1960s but never fully grasped their mother’s role in it until years later. Hylick graduated from Hampton University and received a Master’s at Drexel University. She followed in her mother’s footsteps, working at NASA as a mathematician before taking a job with Lockheed Martin as a Senior Requirements Engineer. She lives today in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. After attending Bennett College and Hampton University, and receiving a Masters of Science in Information Systems from Montclair State University (formerly Montclair State College), Moore spent 33 years working in public education as an educator and guidance counselor in New Jersey. She currently resides in Greensboro, North Carolina. 

    ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATORCharnelle Pinkney Barlow, granddaughter of Caldecott-winning illustrator Jerry Pinkney, was surrounded by art as a child. Her passion for illustration grew after being introduced to the world of watercolors. She received her BFA in Illustration from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and her MFA in Illustration as Visual Essay from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.
     
    Follow Charnelle: Facebook | Instagram
     
     
     
    GIVEAWAY
     
    • One (1) winner will receive a SIGNED hardcover copy of One Step Further.  The book will be signed by Katherine Johnson’s daughters and co-authors Joylette Hylick and Katherine Moore.
    • Check out the other four stops for more chances to win
    • US/Canada only
    • Ends 3/7/2021 at 11:59pm ET

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    diverse books, giveaways

    Sleeping Bear Press New Book Series + A Giveaway!

    Have you seen this new SBP Learning series of picture books from the publisher Sleeping Bear Press? It features nonfiction social justice topics like: anti-racism, equality and racial justice. Sleeping Bear Press is generously sponsoring this giveway for one (1) winner to receive a copy of two of the latest books in the series. Check out the synopsis below from the publisher to read more about these informative books and enter the giveaway for your chance to win. Good Luck!

    Racial Justice in America: Topics for Change by Kelisa Wing, Hedreich Nichols, and Leigh Ann Erickson

    Topics on race in America have been avoided in children’s education for too long–allowing racist systems to continue to thrive. Racial Justice in America: Topics for Change explores current questions around race in comprehensive, honest, and age-appropriate ways. Developed in conjunction with educator, advocate, and author Kelisa Wing to reach children of all races and encourage them to approach race issues with open eyes and minds.

    Marching for Change: Movements Across America by Joyce Markovics

    Millions of Americans have marched and protested to fight inequality and to bring about social change. These large gatherings, filled with powerful and courageous voices, have shined a light on important issues and resulted in new laws. This book covers some of the most famous marches in U.S. history–and encourages readers to stand up for the things they believe in.

    THE GIVEAWAY!

    Sleeping Bear Press Prize Pack Book Giveaway

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    Muted by Tami Charles + A Giveaway!

    Meet seventeen year-old Denver and her friends Dali and Shak. They are three high school friends who dream of escaping from their white hometown and becoming famous singers. The girls end up meeting one of the hottest R&B stars, Sean “Mercury” Ellis who takes them under his wing.

    Muted is a young adult novel written completely in verse, and this is where this story excels. The format of the verse does an excellent job portraying Denver’s story. It has a diverse cast and an LBGTQ+ main character who is in love with her best friend. The ending of this book left me in complete shock…WOW! Check out the synopsis below from the publisher.

    Synopsis
    For seventeen-year-old Denver, music is everything. Writing, performing, and her ultimate goal: escaping her very small, very white hometown.

    So Denver is more than ready on the day she and her best friends Dali and Shak sing their way into the orbit of the biggest R&B star in the world, Sean “Mercury” Ellis. Merc gives them everything: parties, perks, wild nights — plus hours and hours in the recording studio. Even the painful sacrifices and the lies the girls have to tell are all worth it.

    Until they’re not.

    Denver begins to realize that she’s trapped in Merc’s world, struggling to hold on to her own voice. As the dream turns into a nightmare, she must make a choice: lose her big break, or get broken.

    Inspired by true events, Muted is a fearless exploration of the dark side of the music industry, the business of exploitation, how a girl’s dreams can be used against her — and what it takes to fight back.

    About the Author
    Tami Charles is a former teacher and full-time author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As a teacher, she made it her mission to introduce her students to all types of literature, but especially diverse books. While it was refreshing to see a better selection than what she was accustomed to as a child, Tami felt there weren’t nearly as many diverse books as she’d hoped for. It was then that she decided to reignite her passion for writing. Tami is the author of the middle grade novels Like VanessaDefinitely Daphne, and Becoming Beatriz, and the picture book Freedom Soup.

    The Giveaway!
    Enter to win a Muted prize pack that includes:
    1 copy of Muted by Tami Charles
    1 wireless rechargeable bluetooth speaker
    1 retro tape cassette wallet

    Muted by Tami Charles

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    STEM

    Seasons Change: Backyard Science Fun with Hero Elementary on PBS Kids

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    Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Hero Elementary on PBS KIDS.

    When you think of a hero, who do you think of? A doctor? A teacher? A firefighter? A character with superhuman powers, a mask, and a cape? Well, the truth is that heroes come in all forms, shapes, and sizes. They can be any gender, young, or more seasoned. In fact, some of the most heroic acts in the world have been performed by kids.

    Children are born with innate “superpowers” and a natural curiosity about the world around them. That is why the Hero Elementary series on PBS KIDS is so great for STEM loving children ages 4 – 7. It challenges them to investigate, observe, make predictions, and figure out solutions to problems.

    Hero Elementary stars a diverse team of Super Students called Sparks’ Crew: Lucita Sky, AJ Gadgets, Sara Snap, and Benny Bubbles, led by their quirky and enthusiastic teacher, Mr. Sparks. Together they help people, problem solve, and try to make the world a better place for everyone.

    My kids love the show because it is filled with lots of age-appropriate superhero action! I appreciate the fact that it showcases valuable social-emotional concepts such as kindness and empathy that kids can apply to their everyday lives.

    After watching an episode of Hero Elementary, we went to the PBS KIDS website to download their Make Your Own Bubble Mix printable. We experimented with making our own bubble mix and then went outside to have some backyard science fun since it was not too cold.

    Then we had a brief discussion about why the seasons change and how families adapt to seasonal changes by wearing specific clothing during different seasons. For example: boots, hats, gloves, sandals, and bathing suits.  We also talked about why we adjust the temperature in our home and various outdoor seasonal recreational activities like swimming, hiking, and skiing.

    In the weeks ahead, we will be getting ready to transition from winter to spring. Therefore, we also got a head start on planting a few seeds to grow indoors during the remaining weeks of the winter season. Hopefully, by spring our seeds will have sprouted into flowers and we can transfer them from our egg carton to a bigger pot. It will be interesting to watch as our seeds begin to change over time and talk about the stages of a plant life cycle.

    Watching Hero Elementary can help children embrace their “Superpowers of Science” by combining science and literacy to build powerful learning. We enjoyed applying the lessons learned on screen in our backyard science adventure.

    If you are homeschooling or if your kids are participating in distance or hybrid learning, Hero Elementary can be used to supplement core curriculum and extend science lessons into real life.  Give it a try!

    You can watch Hero Elementary on PBS KIDS.  Check your local listings for showtimes or watch anytime on PBSKIDS.org or on the PBS KIDS video app.

    This post is sponsored by Hero Elementary on PBS KIDS.

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    EXCLUSIVE COVER REVEAL My Busy, Busy Brain: The ABCDs of ADHD by Nicole Russell

    Today I’m excited to reveal the cover of a forthcoming 2021 picture book for bestselling author Nicole Russell. In addition to being an author, Nicole is a lead advocate for mental health and the well-being of children. She serves as the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Precious Dreams Foundation, the non-profit teaching children in foster care and homeless shelters to self-comfort globally.

    Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing
    On Sale Date: April 13, 2021
    Written by: Nicole Russell, illustrated by: Antoinette Thomas
    Reading Level: 5 – 8 years 
    Grade Level: Kindergarten-Third Grade
    Pages: 24
    Link to Purchase: My Busy, Busy Brain: The ABCDs of ADHD

    Synopsis
    Nicole has ADHD and a busy, busy brain! Her special brain makes Nicole good at art, daydreaming, and exploring. Some days feel like a mental trip to outer space, on a rainbow carpet ride, with talking bumblebees . . . but sometimes, Nicole has a hard time concentrating in school. With a little courage, she learns how to get help for herself and use her voice to speak up for others.

    My Busy, Busy Brain
     provides practical tools for children struggling with controlling their emotions, impulses, and concentration. This book is a beginner course for children curious about mental health and the challenges we feel but can’t see.

    Short Summary: A resource for kids, parents, educators, and everyone else looking for insight into the experience of children with ADHD.

    About the Author


    Nicole Russell is a bestselling author and lead advocate for mental health and the well-being of children. She serves as the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Precious Dreams Foundation, the non-profit teaching children in foster care and homeless shelters to self-comfort globally. Russell uses her non-profit and creative tools to serve and advocate for youth through every aspect of her career.

    Her bestselling self-help book, Everything a Band-aid Can’t Fix, is highly regarded as a must-have for teens everywhere and has been added to the curriculum of middle and high schools nationwide. Nicole’s accolades include GLAMOUR’s “Everyday Hero of the Year”, Observer’s “Top 20 Heroes Under 40”, Walmart’s “Community Playmaker Award” as well as a featured piece recognizing her efforts in O, The Oprah Magazine.

    In 2020, Nicole was recognized by NBC and Essence as an essential hero for her efforts to serve and support the mental health needs of thousands of youth in the U.S. shelter system during the pandemic.

    Nicole aspires to teach the world how to properly serve, with a focus on teaching young people how to advocate for themselves. My Busy, Busy Brain, Nicole’s first children’s book, is inspired by her personal experience with ADHD.

    Connect with Nicole! Website | Instagram | Twitter

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    children's books, cover reveal, giveaways

    EXCLUSIVE COVER REVEAL: What’s Inside Your Backpack? by Jessica Sinarski + A Giveaway!

    Today I’m excited to reveal the cover of a forthcoming 2021 picture book for one of my fellow bookish friends, Jessica Sinarski. You may be familiar with Jessica’s book Riley the Brave and her resource and training platform, Brave Brains. Her forthcoming book, What’s Inside Your Backpack? scheduled to publish February 4, 2021.

    PublisherNational Center for Youth Issues
    On Sale Date: February 4, 2021
    Written by Jessica Sinarski illustrated by Joanne Lew Vriethoff
    Reading Level: 4 – 7 years
    Grade Level: Preschool – 2
    Pages: 32

    Synopsis
    All around us, children are carrying backpacks that are heavy with more than just textbooks. Each day, they also bear the weight of difficult life experiences and intense feelings.

    Zoey Harmon just wants to feel light-hearted and carefree. Unfortunately, she keeps getting weighed down by pesky “books” in her backpack, like Worry and Shame. Much to her surprise, she’s not the only one! Zoey learns that the adults in her life deal with difficult feelings too! Luckily, they have some ideas that can help her set aside the books she’s not meant to carry. Will it be enough to help her unload the heaviest book of all?

    While there are no quick fixes for all of life’s complex problems, What’s Inside Your Backpack? highlights some of the ways we can nurture resilience in body and mind. Using the metaphor of books and bookmarks, author Jessica Sinarski offers gentle, effective strategies to help children impacted by trauma. By sharing their burdens with people they trust, kids can lighten their load and realize just how strong and courageous they really are!

    About the Author
    Jessica Sinarski, LPCMH equips parents and professionals to be healers for hurting children. Weaving user-friendly brain science into everything she does, Jessica ignites both passion and know-how in audiences. Extensive post-graduate training and 15+ years as a clinician, consultant, and parent educator led her to create BraveBrains, a resource and training platform for home, school, and community. She is also the author of the Riley the Brave picture books.

    Jessica partners with school districts and child welfare agencies across the country to better incorporate effective trauma-sensitive practices into their work. She also shares her expertise as a contributor to magazines, blogs, and podcasts. When not writing and training, she continues to work as a bilingual therapist and clinical supervisor at an innovative adoption support agency. Jessica lives in Delaware with her husband and three busy boys. Find her on Instagram.

    The Giveaway!
    Jessica is giving away two copies of What’s Inside Your Backpack? to two lucky winners. Enter for your chance to win one of two copies below. Good Luck!

    What’s Inside Your Backpack? Book Giveaway

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