lgbo versus English as a Medium of Instruction for Early Literacy: A Realistic Option for Igbo — English Bilinguals
Chika Opara, Federal University of Technology, Owerri

Every society plans the education of the children who grow up in it. The essence of early childhood education is to impart to the children initial literacy skills. These skills include:speaking, listening, reading and writing. Only formal education can adequately activate the ability to acquire these skills; and language is the corner stone of education. One can mainly be literate when one is competent in a language. This language— dependent literacy become more challenging in bilingual societies. In such societies, there exists a linguistic problem of knowing and deciding not only how the two languages should be acquired but also the medium to be used for the acquisition of initial literacy skills in early childhood education.This paper tries to examine the most effective medium of instruction for early childhood education. The study evaluates how a bilingual society can produce children that are proficient in the two languages — a skill required to meet academic demands. In doing this,60 Igbo—English bilinguals four years of age) were observed and tested in Imo State pre~primary schools. The study reveals that mother tongue illiteracy affects the acquisition of the second language and consequently the acquisition of the general basic literacy skills.

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