The "modern" English side by side versions of Romeo and Juliet mutilate Shakespeare's poetry, and offer, at best, a boring and sometimes inaccurate translation. The Folger edition, though offering translations of the hardest words, still leaves students frustrated, unable to grasp the meaning even after repeated close readings and do not explain obsolete customs. After all, the pleasure of reading Shakespeare lies not solely in the plot, often well known to the Elizabethan audiences; it is rather in the clever word play and the incredible beauty of the poetic lines written by the world's greatest wordsmith. Therefore, my solution was to add a narrator (or teacher) to the text who unobtrusively explains the difficult parts. I have been careful not to mess with the poetry. The iambic pentameter is left intact. I have changed some of the obsolete words into modern equivalents. With careful reading, there is nothing that cannot be understood by students. I assign pages to be read at home accompanied by my unit plan focus questions (I know it's a lot of photocopying at first) and then assign parts in class to be read out loud. I ask students to bring in a line from their reading that most moved them for any reason and we affix those to a bulletin board. I also ask students to bring in pictures from contemporary culture to represent the characters in the play (Taylor Swift as Juliet?) and we make a bulletin board to help keep the characters straight (and bring them to life).
Students want to like this play because of the subject matter, but get frustrated if they cannot make sense of some or all of it. I have experienced great success with this approach.