At the high school level, I have seen students go from non-readers to avid readers as a result of being regularly read to in class and 45 minutes of silent reading every Friday. I fully agree that parents can play the most crucial role in a student's education, but when that resource is lacking, yes, absolutely, teachers can be the key to success. What many students need is someone who provides an opportunity to get their interest peaked. If that happens, success can begin, with or without support from other places.
Teachers are certainly more important than the curriculum. A teacher's organization and preparation are vital to students education. A teacher can make or break a book. If the teacher is interested and animated, a dull book can seem much more fun. If the teacher is bored or disinterested, even an exciting book can be a chore to read. The teacher's ability to see what his/her students need and to tailor the lesson to those needs greatly effects the students enjoyment and understanding of the curriculum.
Enthusiasm can work magic - and a good teacher who can enthuse their students is priceless. Good quality, inspiring and culturally relevant resources are a bonus to help success: a good teacher is essential.
I totally agree with the first post here. Teachers are, in my opinion, more important than the specific curriculum. In other words, a good teacher will make a reading program work regardless of whether it is the optimal reading program. However, what really determines whether a child will be a good reader is the extent to which the parents read to him/her and the extent to which the parents model the idea that reading is something that people should do.
While I think that a teacher is the key to setting reading in motion successfully, providing the tools to decode and the enthusiasm to engage the child, a teacher is usually not the key to truly successful reading. A few hours a day is simply not enough to do the job. I believe there is no substitute for the parent in this endeavor, a parent who reads to the child, a parent who takes the child to the library frequently, a parent whom the child sees reading with pleasure. Most of the people I know who are successful readers are people who were fortunate enough to have had these experiences. Most of the people I know who are not successful readers are people who did not. Many of my evening students are parents themselves. and I tell them that if they remember nothing else they learn in my classroom, I want them to remember to read to their children. There ought to be a law!