Marquette's Dwyane Wade "Live to Dream" Summer Reading Program curbs summer literacy slide

December 19, 2017

MILWAUKEE — Marquette University's College of Education has released results of its Dwyane Wade "Live to Dream" Summer Reading Program, showing significant progress in curbing the "summer slide" in reading achievement among inner-city Milwaukee school children.

Dwyane Wade

Wade visited elementary school students at Marquette when first launching his "Live to Dream" Summer Reading Program in 2014. Photo by Jesse Lee 


The "summer slide" refers to the tendency for students, especially those from low-income families, to lose achievement gains they made during the previous school year.

All 131 second- and third-grade students who participated in Marquette's summer program over the past three summers have either maintained or increased their reading level — 67 students (51%) increased and 64 students (49%) maintained their reading level.

"Literacy opens doors for a lifetime of educational and career opportunities for young kids, which is why it is so important that we counter the trend of the summer slide," said Bill Henk, dean of the College of Education. "We are incredibly grateful to both Dwyane and Tragil Wade for providing the capacity to change the trajectory of the lives of these students." Henk also expressed gratitude to the Todd Wehr Foundation and Greater Milwaukee Foundation, who have contributed to the program.

According to the National Summer Learning Association,"Unless students deliberately engage in learning activities, almost all of them experience educational losses over the summer. Additionally, while students from underserved populations might keep pace with their peers during the school year, they typically experience higher summer learning losses due to decreased access to books and education programs. The NSLA identifies this unequal access as the source of nearly half the achievement gap between low- and high-income students."

View the complete results from Marquette University's Dwyane Wade "Live to Dream" Summer Reading Program.

Marquette University alumnus and Cleveland Cavaliers star Dwyane Wade gave $195,000 to the university's Ralph C. Hartman Literacy and Learning Center in December 2014 to help improve the region's literacy gap among inner-city children.

Wade, who attended Marquette from 2000 to 2003, made the gift through his Wade's World Foundation which provides support to community-based organizations that promote education, health and social skills for children in at-risk situations. Tragil Wade, Dwyane's sister, is the executive director of Wade's World Foundation, which has adopted literacy as a core focus area.

The "Live to Dream" Summer Reading Program, which will be held in Marquette's College of Education through at least 2020, provides free transportation for children to and from the Hartman Center on campus. It builds off the center's existing school-year reading program for second- and third-grade students. More than 850 prospective Marquette teachers have tutored approximately 2,800 kids in the Hartman Center's 25 years on campus. In addition to the free tutoring services to approximately 150 low-income children annually, the center conducts research related to children's growth and learning.

In 2014 when the university announced the gift, Wade said, "We believe that every child deserves a shot, and I am proud to impact children on the very same campus of Marquette University where I was a student. My hope is that the children will envision themselves as future Marquette students where they can one day transform their lives through higher education."

Interested donors for the "Live to Dream" Summer Reading Program can do so through an online site,, or by contacting Laura Bolger, director of development at

About Marquette University's College of Education

For more than 95 years, Marquette University's College of Education has helped prepare individuals to work as professionals in public and private school settings. The college's undergraduate programs position students for teaching in elementary, middle and secondary schools as well as other educational contexts, and graduate programs prepare students for several roles including: counselors who work in schools and other human service organizations, master teachers, school principals and superintendents, private practice counseling psychologists, and higher education faculty and administrators.

About Wade's World Foundation

The mission of Wade's World Foundation is to help inspire and provide support to community-based organizations that promote education, health and social skills for kids in at-risk situations so they have the necessary tools they need to leave a positive footprint within their community and succeed in their life experiences. Since the foundation launched in 2003, Wade and his family have been committed to giving back in Chicago, South Florida and throughout the country. More information on Wade's World Foundation can be found at