Here are two quotes from an article on literacy that show what character-based learning is and how science books influenced one student and changed his life.:
Character based learning is learning in which students are improving their reasoning skills, increasing their knowledge, and enlarging their moral understanding-all at the same time. Source: http://www.literacynews.com/2009/11/one-step-beyond-literacy/. Accessed November 21, 2009.
[...] Ben Carson, a boy who discovered a new interest. You can read Ben’s story in a book titled[,] Gifted Hands. It is a book about a boy who in his early years of schooling mostly received D’s and F’s on his report card, but when once his interest was fired, went on to become a prominent neurosurgeon. The person who turned his life around was his mother. She believed he could do much better so she turned off the TV set and told him that he could only watch two TV programs a week and that he had to read at least two books a week. He was obedient, if not happy with the rule, but soon found he had an interest in science books. This interest became the basis for his rise from an F student to an A student, and eventually made it possible for him to become one of the foremost surgeon’s in his field. For Ben, what began with little curiosity about a science book led to an eminent career as a brain surgeon.
Source: http://www.literacynews.com/2009/11/one-step-beyond-literacy/. Accessed November 21, 2009.
Notice that in the paragraph on Ben Carson, it was a parent that turned his life around. The role of parents in education is critical and sometimes doesn't get enough attention (at least not in the newspaper stories that seem to blame teachers when students do poorly...). Parents are encouraged to use their judgement in encouraging their children to learn science.
To read more from the above referenced article, click here.