@Woodct ... I don't know how this works in your country, but here if you bought the camera new then you also receive a Nikon School coupon where they teach you the basics of using the camera. If you purchased the camera second hand, then get in contact with Nikon's representative in your country and find out if you have Nikon School there or not. Try to find out if there are any other courses. Reading a book or a form is one thing, having someone show it to you is another.
In the meanwhile open the Ken Rockwell user manual and read that. Or use the search function to find "exposure compensation" and read those bits for starters.
EDIT: This thread has got me thinking ... perhaps we should make a WIKI on this site with full texts or better yet links to different resources on the basics of photography, be it wikipedia, Thom Hogan, Ken Rockwell or Bryan Peterson, Strobist, etc. This would act as a nice starting point to beginners who will also be visiting this site hoping to find some guidance in their photographic adventures. Maybe even our present readers will find some interesting reading materials there. I don't know how NR will see it, but I also suggest mentioning books by different authors (Ansel Adams, Michael Langford, Bryan Peterson, Paul Gallagher, David Rosenfeld, etc.) I'm sure that the authors won't mind if their books are recommended.
adamz and NR, if you think this is a good idea, then we should perhaps start this off with a separate thread where our members can contribute by giving links and if it is so decided names of books that might be interesting to beginners, amateurs or even pros. I've spent a pretty penny on a wide variety of books over the past two years and there are quite a few among them that I would recommend, and of course some I won't :)