Drawing on the bilingual policies and biliteracy programmes of African nations, this paper discusses the context of literacy education in Nigeria and examines Nigerian early literacy teachers’ attitudes to teaching literacy and literacy teaching practices as informed by the National Policy on Education, Primary English Language Curriculum and the teaching–learning milieu. The paper also reports the findings of a survey in which respondents to a questionnaire expressed their views and understanding of the primary English curriculum and their own relations and experiences with it, as well as their own competencies and self-concept as literacy teachers. Results indicated the need to train Nigerian teachers to adopt a much wider perspective in literacy, which recognises the opportunities for developing the interrelated strands of literacy. Governments should also consider practising teachers’ professional identities and growth in decision-making and curriculum development. This will enhance their understanding of ideologies in policy and practice.