Wednesday, September 18

World War II Code Talkers + Novel Study

In American Indian culture, boys are trained from an early age to become warriors. Warriors don't just fight enemies, but also care for their people. With this cultural influence, many felt led to serve in the military during the war. Several thousand Native Americans served during World War 2, but the most famous were the Navajo Code Talkers.

There were two types of codes used by the Native Americans during the war. "Type Two" code involved translating a phrase into a tribal tongue and passing it through radio waves just like that. The more sophisticated code, 'Type One,' was developed using the Navajo language. Each letter of the English alphabet was assigned a Navajo word, usually an animal, and that was used to spell out encrypted messages. The code talkers had to memorize all of the words and be able to perform well under very stressful battle conditions.

This newspaper article below, discussing how code talkers helped win the war, came from the September 19, 1945 issue of the New York Times. Learn about Navajo Folklore in our Modern Mythology series!

Our spine reads for this unit are:

Access the complete unit in the American History Novel Studies Bundle!

Includes sixteen unit studies covering American History. Each unit addresses a new topic, spanning the Revolutionary War to Vietnam.  Each unit has introductory text, which will give the student basic background information about the topic at hand.

  • There are photographs and illustrations, and we have also included primary documents when available.
  • After this text, there are featured videos, which augment the background information and help make the topic more accessible for more visual students.
  • You will also find a short list of reading books, including a featured novel that the unit builds upon.
  • There are vocabulary words, places, and people to identify.
  • Reading comprehension, critical thinking questions, and writing assignments are included.
  • We add fun with hands-on activities and extra videos to watch that will bring the era to life.
  • Some units also have cooking projects.

These studies are directed toward upper grades students, but some have resources for younger students so that the whole family can work together. Our family has used unit studies as curriculum for many years, and we hope that your family will enjoy these, too!

Product sample:  Paper Son & Angel Island Immigration  & Within These Lines & Japanese Internment

  • Casualties of War & Vietnam War
  • No Promises in the Wind & the Great Depression
  • Out of the Dust & the Dust Bowl
  • The Watsons Go to Birmingham & Civil Rights
  • Dusty Sourdough & Alaska
  • The King of Mulberry Street & Ellis Island Immigration
  • Paper Son & Angel Island Immigration
  • The Red Menace & McCarthyism
  • Johnny Tremain & Faces of the American Revolution
  • Sounder & Sharecropping
  • World War II Code Talkers
  • Flashback Four: Hamilton-Burr Duel
  • Within These Lines & Japanese Internment Camps
  • Flashback Four: Titanic Mission
  • Flashback Four: Lincoln Project
  • The Diviners / The Great Gatsby & Roaring Twenties

Get the entire World War 2 Bundle!


  • The Book Thief
  • We Were There at the Battle of Britain
  • Number the Stars
  • The Winged Watchmen
  • We Were There at Pearl Harbor
  • We Were There at the Battle of Bataan
  • Island War
  • Red Stars
  • The Night Witches
  • Mare’s War
  • We Were There at the Normandy Invasion
  • Code Talkers
  • We Were There at the Battle of the Bulge
  • The Light Between Us
  • We Were There at the Open of the Atomic Era
  • A Merry 1940s Christmas

Product samples:


  1. The code talkers of WWII is such an interesting topic to study and read about!

  2. Interesting study! Thanks for linking up.

  3. Great topic - I am going to have my son study this.


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