The government perceives primary education (childhood literacy) as the
foundation on which other levels of education are built, and so describes it as the key to the success or failure of the whole system. In view of this, the government in the National Policy on Education (NPE) states that among the general objectives of primary education is:- the inculcation of permanent literacy and numeracy, and the ability to communicate effectively, (section 3, paragraph 14″) But, the problem of childhood illiteracy especially in English language which is the focus of this paper has persisted despite series of effort that have been made in several quarters to curb the trend. This paper discusses what it takes to make a child literate. It also highlights the advantages of literacy and the skills that are involved. The painful reality of the present situation of our primary education
system is depicted. The constraints impeding the realization of the educational objectives at the primary school level are examined and suggestions that could lead to reduction and possibly eradication of childhood illiteracy are preferred.