Purpose: This study investigated the narrative language performance of 3 types of readers who had been identified as being at risk through code-based response-to-intervention (RTI) procedures.
Method: In a retrospective group comparison, 32 at-risk 1st-grade readers were identified: children who resolved without intervention (early resolvers, n = 11), children who met criterion following 4 weeks of intervention (good responders, n = 8), and children who failed to meet criterion following 4 weeks of intervention (poor responders, n = 13). A narrative retell and a norm-referenced language test were obtained before intervention.
Results: There were no significant differences between the 3 learner types on the language test. However, the narratives of the good responders were significantly higher than the narratives of the other 2 groups on total number of words, number of different words, and number of communication units. The narratives of early resolvers and good responders differed significantly on the productivity index, number of coordinating conjunctions, and number of episodic elements. There were no other significant differences.
Conclusion: Types of learners distinguished by a code-based RTI model showed differences in their narrative language. First graders who responded well to code-based reading intervention retold stories that contained more language and better story grammar than first graders who did not respond well to intervention. These results indicate the need to evaluate narrative language performance within RTI, especially for early resolvers.