What can I do to get the students to want to trace?
AnswerYou may not get them to want to trace but you can get them to trace. Try one or more of the following:
Model: Every time you ask them to trace, be sure that your own hand is tracing on the table. Your participation may be encouraging.
Magic: Point out that their writing hand is a magic hand when they trace on the table: it unlocks the words for them and sends the message to their brains. Demonstrate this to them.
Logic: Explain the connection that is made when tracing letters/sounds. Tracing activates motor memory in the brain and helps connect the letters and sounds (graphemes and phonemes). Because we traced sounds when we were first learning them, we can access those sounds by tracing the letters we see and allowing the brain to unlock the sounds.
Be sure that you believe in the strategy and understand the reasoning behind it—the scientific explanation—so you can be convincing.