Academic characteristics of self-identified illiterates.

F. T. Fleener, J. F. Scholl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The purpose was a descriptive account of the academic characteristics of 35 adults (22 men and 13 women) who perceived themselves as needing help in reading. Ages of participants ranged from 16 through 60 years. All had completed Grade 6, mean of Grade 11. Sixteen were functionally illiterate, that is, read below Grade 5. Twenty-seven were unemployed. The most common deficiencies found were in phonics, comprehension, and perception. All aspects of phonics, but especially the sounds of the short vowels, were a problem. Difficulties in perception were evident in reversals of letters and words, miscalling letters, and adding and omitting letters. Comprehension, the calling of words without knowing their meaning, was a major problem. Some individuals found it necessary to read aloud to understand. Others read so slowly they lost the meaning of a paragraph before they had finished it. Difficulty in remembering was perceived by some subjects as a factor in their lack of reading skill. It is hoped that by identifying these specific deficiencies in reading skills greater emphasis could be placed on them, and illiteracy could be prevented or at least reduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)739-744
Number of pages6
JournalPerceptual and motor skills
Issue number3 Pt 1
StatePublished - Jun 1 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems


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