Your image doesn't automatically have multiple layers. Lots of newcomers to Elements expect the program to be smart enough to put each object in a photo onto its own layer. It's a lovely dream, but even Elements isn't that brainy. To experience the joy of layers, you first need to add at least one layer to your image, which is what you'll learn how to do in the next few sections.
It may help you to follow along through the next few sections if you get out a photo of your own or create a new file to use for practice. Or you can just download either the harvestfestsmall.psd or leaves.jpg file from the "Missing CD" page at www.missingmanuals.com. (See Section 2.5 for details on how to create a new file.) If you create a new file, choose a white background.