Have your students been on a picture schedule for too long? Are they able to follow their schedule with complete independence? Can they match some words to pictures? If you answered yes to the previous questions, it may be time to get your students off the picture schedule and onto a word schedule. Word schedules are more functional, age appropriate, and will allow for increased independence. I fade my students into a word schedule using a variety of activities. First of all, I test my students ability to match words to pictures for schedule words. That way, I know which words they already know and which words I will need to target. I actually just did this assessment for one of my new students (who has been on a picture schedule for the first 2 months of school), and he could correctly match ALL of the words to the pictures. So, now I'm on a mission to switch him off of his picture schedule (these kiddos always keep me on my toes!).
Next, for the targeted schedule pictures, I begin to make the pictures on the student's schedule smaller and the words on the schedules larder.
I also have students practice spelling the schedule words by matching letters.
And have students practice writing the words as well.