I agree this should be right at the top but as has been discussed here before, the docs aren't written for beginners; or non-programmers for that matter. They take a great deal for granted. So assuming they answer beginner questions isn't necessarily a good idea. Even when the answers are there, they are often unintelligible to the neophyte. A beginner seeing things like split /PATTERN/,EXPR,LIMIT is as unenlightened as if she'd seen nothing at all.
I'm a newbie with perl, but have been hacking assembler since the 6502 so not really a beginner in the sense of 'non-programmer' -- if only i'd found perldoc (and knew how to use it) learning perl would be much simpler. Point to the things that perldoc can tell beginners, and give example code. What IS in perldoc? I still don't know how to find out.
Another point where i find difficulty is OO --too old to have grown up with OO-- so a simple intro to that would be extremely useful to me at least :-)