Fifty is the new twenty!

Did you Know...

Did you know that a child has to say a brand new word an average of fifty times before it is banked as part of his or her natural vocabulary?

That's why children repeat high-frequency words such as "big" "tall" "ran" and "said" over and over again. They say them, write them, read and understand them because they've said them so many times, that using them in all context is natural and automatic. With those words, we hit the 50 mark without even knowing it. 

So, how do we apply this to more adventurous words in order to widen the vocabulary banks of our children and students?

This week, in addition to the verbal sentence frames stuck to the kitchen fridge (see Talk, talk, talk- the Write Way!) Mamma T is trialing the golden Rule of Fifty using a super simple vocabulary hack: talking with actions. And, guess what, this is something that can be used both at home and at school! 

Here are the steps we took...

Step 1:

We chose four verbs that we thought Juantio would like. Our verbs were:

Step 2:

Mamma Tiffin stuck them to the working wall, on the opposite side of the sentence starters.

Step 3: 

She read them with Juanito, explaining what each one meant and asking him to repeat the words after her. She then made an action for each one.


Key advice

Remember, the aim of this activity is to reach the 50 mark. We want our language learners to say these words aloud as many times as possible, so that they become as natural to them as simple, high-frequency words such as jumped, ran, walked and snuck. They'll then recognise them in spoken and written comprehension, use them in writing, and be ready to add more synonyms to their vocabulary banks later on. 

Here are some ideas to hit that 50 mark:

1. You say the boring word and your child says the better one!

Here's an example:

Mamma T: jumped

Juanito: leapt!

Mamma T: walked (as if in snow)

Juanito: trudged!

You can extend this by creating full sentences:

Mamma T: Gekko jumped into the air. 

Juanito: Gekko leapt into the air!

Mamma T: Pepper Pig snuck around the house. 

Juanito: Pepper Pig crept around the house!

2. Charades- you give the action and Juanito gives the word.

Mamma T:  (runs on the spot)

Juanito: sprinted!

Mamma T: (tip-toes around)

Juanito: crept!

Swap- let Juanito give you the action and you give the matching word. Try getting some wrong on purpose and see if he corrects you :)

3. Blend with Hack #1: insert the new words into the jumbled up sentences, like this: 



4. Just have fun with the actions! 


Download the Free Resources Here:

If you like the above ideas and could use them in your home or classroom, click here to download our lists of adventurous words. As you'll see in the preview below, our words are grouped by school grade and range from EYFS to Year 6. You'll also find suggested actions for each word.


Happy 50-ing, all!!

Miss Tiffin xx


1 comment

  • Teresa Pascolat

    Great ideas to be rearranged for older kids!!! Thank you!

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