I never overheard my older child (D’Nealian student) actually saying any of the word clues (like ‘tail’) when making her letters.  But – I have frequently overheard my daughter saying the ez Write word clues when making letters.  I am even using the word clues with my 2 year old!  The ez Write clues seemed to have ‘clicked’ more.  I also think the use of the house has helped – with some of the lower case letters going ‘into the basement.
ez Write Handwriting Program