I remember being in 3rd grade when I learned to write in cursive. I hated it. I also had to write I will not talk in class IN CURSIVE on the blackboard one time during recess!
I have a 2nd grade boy whose print handwriting still needs a little work. I decided to wait until he was ready to try cursive. Guess what? Over Christmas, there were name tags that were written in cursive (not to mention a few notes to myself about what I still needed to buy). He really wanted to be able to read those name labels. So then it hit me. Why not start with teaching him to read cursive, to recognize words and letters. He's a great reader, so this is the next natural step for us.
My plan is to write small passages in cursive and let him trace the entire words with the goal of just recognizing the word and tracing...not practicing cursive. No -1 for going below the line, etc. Then we'll see how things progress. My goal is not to complete our cursive training by a certain point, but to work with it over time too.
I've also decided to use it as a way to practice those letters we learned to print in kindergarten. For example, I ask my son to print his name using his best print handwriting. Then I write his name in cursive and he traces it. Hence, he learns to read his name in cursive.
I used Handwritingworkseets.com to create a passage in print and cursive that reads:
Today is Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012. It is ____ degrees outside.
My son will practice his standard printing first after he reads the outdoor thermometer and places the temperature on the line in the passage. Then he will trace the cursive words and try not to lift his pencil with the goal of recognizing the words.
And that's the cursive plan for this week. We'll see how it goes.