We co constructed a story about a shared experience so that the children had some idea of what we were writing about. The story was written on paper and tapped to the back of the reading corner and teaching station so that only some children had access to the written story.
The story would be "dictated" to the writer one letter (or blend) at a time by sounding out the letter or letters. The children were then buddied up in pairs. One child was the writer while the other was the runner. The writer had to listen to what letters the runner wanted him to record to be able to re create our co constructed story.
The runners had great fun trying to make themselves understood to the writers.
Those that were having difficulty found different ways of communicating what letters were needed. They would say a letter but each time repeat its sound - "It starts like..." then say the sound again. Another runner would use how the letter is made - around, up and down then repeat the sound. Another way was "drawing" the letter on the table then repeating the sound. Saying the little poem about a letter which repeats the sound also helped others.
Then we stopped and read the results and repeated the process with another story after swapping roles. It was amazing to see how the runners were determined to get their message across and stick to the rules that a runner could not be a writer and help out. It was a fun way to show why we need to know the sounds letters make.