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We study a wide range of graph-based message-passing schedules for iterative decoding of low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes. Using the Tanner graph (TG) of the code and for different nodes and edges of the graph, we relate the first iteration in which the corresponding messages deviate from their optimal value (corresponding to a cycle-free graph) to the girths and the lengths of the shortest closed walks in the graph. Using this result, we propose schedules, which are designed based on the distribution of girths and closed walks in the TG of the code, and categorize them as node based versus edge based, unidirectional versus bidirectional, and deterministic versus probabilistic. These schedules, in some cases, outperform the previously known schedules, and in other cases, provide less complex alternatives with more or less the same performance. The performance/complexity tradeoff and the best choice of schedule appear to depend not only on the girth and closed-walk distributions of the TG, but also on the iterative decoding algorithm and channel characteristics. We examine the application of schedules to belief propagation (sum-product) over additive white Gaussian noise (AWGN) and Rayleigh fading channels, min-sum (max-sum) over an AWGN channel, and Gallager's algorithm A over a binary symmetric channel.