A-Z Reading Challenges for Book Lovers

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Ready to take on a reading challenge? An A-Z reading challenge is the perfect choice for someone looking for a balanced or stretch reading challenge.

(Not sure what your reading challenge style is? Take the quiz and find out!)

An alphabet-based book challenge means that you’re aiming for 26 books per year–or just over two per month.

Twenty-six books may be easy for some readers and more of a stretch for others, but volume isn’t the only way to think about a reading challenge.

Plan your A-Z Reading Challenge: 3 easy approaches

Simply finding 26 books that align with the alphabet is sure to present a challenge (Q, X, and Z titles just might have you stumped!), but there are plenty of other ways to use this challenge to push your reading.

This might be the perfect reading challenge option if you’re looking to mix up your reading routine and explore different genres, authors, and formats but want a simple framework to guide your planning.

An alphabet challenge is also a fun way to work through your TBR pile; simply slot some of the books you’ve been meaning to read into their spot on the alphabet.

If you still have letters without a book from your TBR, that’s a great excuse to try some new books that may not have been on your radar.

Alphabet Reading Challenge Options

The great thing about an A-Z reading challenge is it’s so easy to set up–just pick one book for each letter of the alphabet.

It may sound limiting, but there’s actually plenty of room for flexibility, and you’re only limited by your imagination.

Here are some different ways you could structure your A-Z reading challenge:

  • By book title
  • By author name
  • By topic
  • With the whole family

A-Z Reading Challenge by Book Title

Planning an A-Z reading challenge based on the title of a book can be a great way to explore different genres, authors, and formats–or to limit your selections within one of those areas.

Pile of books that begin with letters A through F

For instance, you could decide that you want to read only graphic novels for your challenge, or you might want to explore some new young adult books or even children’s books.

The only rule here is that the beginning of each title needs to match one letter of the alphabet.

It’s up to you how strict you want to be; will titles that start with words like “A” or “The” count as “A” or “T” books, or will you allow the first letter of the second word to count when you build your list of books? Do you have to read your books in alphabetical order or can you mix them up?

Ultimately, the alphabet is just a guide for your reading. It’s your challenge; you make the rules, and you get to decide how it works.

A-Z Reading Challenge by Author

Always reading the same authors? Maybe you should structure your A-Z reading challenge so you’re reading at least 26 different authors–each with a name that starts with one letter of the alphabet.

Challenge yourself to read authors that are completely new to you. By December 31st, you will have tried out 26 new-to-you authors–and maybe found some new favorites.

A-Z Reading Challenge by Topic

Maybe you’re looking to read a wide variety of topics. Building your A-Z book challenge by topic will ensure that you read books that cover 26 different subjects.

Structuring your challenge by topic will require you to do a bit more research on the books you choose–the topics covered in books are not always obvious, especially if they’re fiction. Historical fiction is a great genre to read from if you’re reading by topic, but any genre could work if you do a little digging.

Nonfiction books obviously give you a whole range of general topics to choose from and slot into each letter of the alphabet, but you could niche down your reading choices even further and focus on only memoirs or biographies–using the names of people you read about as your guide.

Family A-Z Reading Challenge

The A-Z reading challenge is actually a great challenge to do as a family, with readers of all ages.

Using the alphabet as a guide can help build literacy skills and encourage young readers to hunt for different books when visiting the library, and the alphabet would work for a summer reading challenge or a school year challenge.

You could also get the entire family involved. Select and read 26 books together, or make it a friendly family competition: the first person to complete the whole alphabet wins!

A-Z Reading Challenge Printables

Preview of A-Z Reading Challenge Printables

Plan an A-Z reading challenge and choose to read by book title, author, or topic. You’ll get color and black and white trackers, plus get book ideas for every letter of the alphabet!

How will you build your A-Z reading challenge? Do you find it helpful to use the alphabet to guide and diversify your reading? Share in the comments!

Related: Reading Challenges for Every Type of Reader



  1. I started three alphabetical challenges last year. They are still in play. It’s fun to choose books for these lists. One of them is “Around the World” so the prompt is the location. The other is “Mystery Titles” as that is a favourite genre. For that one, the first main word in the title is the prompt (a, an, the at the start of the title are not counted). The third one is “Single Word Titles”. As the overall larger goal is to read books from my own shelves, for this one I also give myself the liberty of titles that have a, an, the at the start, but I do try to find ones that don’t.

    1. I love how you’ve customized this to the types of books you want to read! The A-Z framework is definitely a fun and easy way to structure a reading challenge and discover a variety of books.

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