Learning disabled children have been found to be less likely than nondisabled children to request clarification of ambiguous messages provided by adults. This study tested a strategy deficit hypothesis as one source of this conversational deficit by assessing the effects of a brief intervention which highlighted the appropriate response strategy, i.e., question-asking. Learning disabled and non-disabled children in grades four, five, and six played the listener role in a referential communication task requiring them to select referents based on messages varying in informational adequacy. Although group and grade differences replicated previous findings, the intervention condition had no effect on the children's performance on a posttest. An analysis of referent selections indicated that the inactive listeners were overrelying on the Maxim of Quantity, the Gricean principle that cooperative speakers provide informative messages. These results suggest that conversational development depends on children's increasing ability to recognize contexts in which these conversational principles do not apply.