I just saw a post about learning cursive in grade 1 in Chech republic. I grew up in Slovakia (former Czechoslovakia) and it's true- we used to only read print but when we would write, we would write cursive from the beginning. The letters looked one way when we read and another way when we write. In addition, we used to use ink pens - not pencils - so that if we pushed too hard on the paper the ink would come out onto the paper. It is very sad to see cursive disappearing from American schools.
This is also the case in Russia. We never learned how to write print, only cursive, starting with loops and progressing to letters.
Several years ago I was working with two brothers from Hungary. They seemed to be improving very quickly, but had a really terrible time with writing. It wasn't until their mother learned English and came to a conference that I learned most of the difficulty stemmed from the fact that they only had ever written in cursive. Once I let them start writing in script there was no stopping them!