Students in the natural sciences should be prepared as undergraduates to read and apply concepts from the scientific literature. I describe a strategy that enforced the necessity to deliver high volumes of content while incorporating an active-learning technique. Students were assigned to read and discuss articles from the scientific literature that complemented content being delivered via traditional lecture. Students were encouraged to participate by coming to class prepared with written questions, and discussion was directed by instructor-prepared prompts. Students were assessed via low-stakes assignments based primarily on participation. This teaching method has proved effective, as verbally reported by past students who are currently enrolled in graduate programs. These students report feeling more prepared than their peers to discuss and learn from the scientific literature.