In the late 1970s, instructors at the University of Pittsburgh recognized that students were entering the school unprepared for the rigors of academic life. The university's response was to develop a course offering challenging material -- readings requiring serious attention -- along with a method of reading and rereading that helped students learn to read and think critically and respond in writing. That course proved enormously successful, and its materials and methods were published as Ways of Reading. Often imitated -- but never duplicated -- Ways of Reading has for over twenty years profoundly influenced the teaching of writing. It continues to offer students and instructors a uniquely exciting and challenging approach to first-year composition, integrating reading, writing, and critical thinking with an unparalleled selection of readings and editorial features. Ways of Reading helps students develop the necessary intellectual skills for college-level academic work while engaging them in conversations with key academic and cultural texts. It bridges the gap between contemporary critical theory and composition so that instructors can connect their own scholarly work with their teaching. Adopted and readopted from coast to coast in a wide variety of schools, hundreds of instructors and thousands of students confirm that it works.