Electrical Circuits (EMT 1150) is a first-year engineering gateway course for Electromechanical Engineering Technology (EMT) associate degree students. It is a five-credit course with a combined lecture and laboratory components. Topics in the lecture portion introduces the physical basis and mathematical models of electrical components and circuits. The laboratory sessions of the course are performed on a breadboard using the digital multi-meter, oscilloscope, and function generator. In the past ten consecutive semesters, the average enrollment for EMT1150 was approximately 144 students per semester with an average of 73% passing with a D or better and 64% passing with a C or better. EMT 1150 has always been identified as one of the most challenging courses in the major. From the instructors’ perspective, the reason for the high failure rates is due to first-year students having to learn the language of engineering in a very short time; simultaneously, they need to develop good critical thinking and problem-solving skills. In this paper, the preliminary results of a new pedagogical approach that incorporates Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) and discipline-specific literacy strategies to improve student learning will be presented. The proposed approach consists in a restructure of the course material and the introduction of recitation sessions integrated with the PLTL strategies. The new course design was piloted in a semester and the results were compared with other sections using a uniform final exam at the end of the semester. On average, the piloted PLTL sections performed approximately 15% higher than the non-PLTL sections.