But for one local group, literacy is something they practice everyday. At Walla Walla Community College members of the LC Valley Literacy Council, work everyday to eradicate illiteracy.
Lois Cowan is 61-years-old and is finally learning how to read. As a young mother growing up in Detroit, Lois said she never got the help she needed until now.
"I couldn't help the kids do their homework because I wasn't properly educated," said Cowan. "So I didn't feel equipped to teach my kids the homework that they were bringing in because I didn't know it."
Lois' story isn't unusual. According to ProLiteracy.org 30 million Americans adults can't read well enough to fill out a job application.
"That made me feel inadequate being a mother," said Cowan.
"Even people that are native Americans that aren't foreign born with low literacy skills can get along alright for a while but then eventually there comes a need that they need to improve their literacy," said LC Valley Literacy Council Tutor Rhonda Welling.
Welling is trying to change these jarring statistics, one student at a time.
"It's very rewarding working with adults," said Welling.
Xiaohong Wang said the literacy council has provided more than just a tutor but a friend, who's currently assisting Wang to get American citizenship.
"Like family," said Wang. "Before I was very lonesome and now I am very happy."
"Now, here, it's like the whole world has opened up," said Cowan.
A world of possibilities, where closed doors need only be opened with a little hard-work and dedication.
"You can do anything if you put your mind to it," said Cowan.
If you'd like to get involved with the Literacy Council as a tutor or a student, just search the Lewis Clark Valley Literacy Council on facebook at Facebook.com/LCVLC.