I have mentioned in previous posts that we are using the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum for Rylan's handwriting practice. The more I use this programme the more I like it. If you just do the workbooks it can get boring, but if you use the more tactile aspects of the curriculum it is fun (there is also a CD which I am toying with getting, but haven't tried yet), plus I add to it with other fun activities, one of which I shared here.
One of the activities Rylan enjoys is the wet/dry writing practice on a chalkboard. We start all letters and numbers this way, first on the chalkboard, then onto the workbook. I write the letter/number first while giving "instructions" (for example: 8 - start with an S, then close it up!), and then Rylan uses a little wet sponge (I just cut a corner off a new dish sponge) to trace the shape. After that he writes his own over the wet outline, and then we flip the board over and he does it completely by himself. The chalk and sponge are easier to manage then the pencil for beginner writers, it is fun activity, plus the chalkboard allows you to make much bigger shapes than in the workbook. It means they are likely to have success on the chalkboard, and go to the workbook with confidence in their ability to form the letter. Win, win situation.
The board in the picture I purchased from the HWT site, and the lines definitely help with good formation, but I am sure it would work with other boards too.