There is a very interesting article in the Washington Post here titled: Five habits of great students: Lessons from top-rated STEM school, by Valerie Strauss.
I was thrilled to see that the first habit mentioned was a love of reading. That is exactly what I saw with my top students while I was teaching. A love of reading spilled over to all of their subjects, and made them better in science, history, technology, foreign language, and even math. It is so great to see an article in the mainstream media that recognizes this.