A Need to Address Illiteracy Problems in the Military Services

FPCD-77-13: Published: Mar 31, 1977. Publicly Released: Mar 31, 1977.

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The problem of illiteracy among some enlisted personnel and the services' attempts to deal with it were reviewed.

The services spend over $3 million annually to improve reading ability of selected individuals and have committed some $8 million in an attempt to reduce the difficulty of the written material. Compared to the normal recruit population, poor readers tend to have higher discharge rates, experience more training difficulty, perform less satisfactorily on the job, and lack the potential for career advancement.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Department of Defense should develop a policy to effectively address the illiteracy problem. Each military job should have a required reading level. A minimum reading grade level should be established for enlistment, and those screened out should be counseled to seek help from civilian programs. Written material should be simplified. Remedial programs should be evaluated and coordinated with effective counseling. The Office of Education and the National Institute of Education should be consulted to draw upon their expertise.

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