This article is from the Recreational Figure Skating FAQ, by Karen Bryden with numerous contributions by others.
"Stroking isn't forward or backward, it's side to side." You don't
push forward with the toe picks, you push forward with the side of the
blade. To get a feel for stroking, stand with your feet together, then
slip one of your feet behind the other, and angled so the toe points
out. Push with the side of the "behind" foot, and transfer all your
weight to the "front" foot. Bring your feet together again, and do the
same with the other foot. This will have you traveling forward on one
foot, then the other, on the inside edge.
Your arms should be out to the sides, relaxed, and your hands should
be palms down and about waist level. Later on, to add finesse, extend
the pushing leg behind you as much as possible at the finish of each
stroke. You should extend your leg with the entire edge in contact
with the ice and don't pick your foot up. Just let the leg extend
until it's no longer on the ice. You should feel the strain in your
buttocks muscles. Once the leg is lifted, the free leg should be
straight and the toe of the free skate should be pointed.