Tablature is a system of writing down music for the guitar. It is based on a six line grid that represent one of the six guitar string. The top line is the 1st (top E) string, and the bottom is the 6th (bottom E) string. The numbers on the lines are fret numbers. For example, a number 3 on the 2nd line from the top tells you to play D om the 3rd fret of the 2nd string. An O on the line indicates that you play the open 2nd string.
The system relies on you being able to hear the piece of music so that you are familiar with the rhythmic structure of the song and the timing of the notes. It is used in conjunction with memory.
It is basically a form of short hand that helps you determine where to put your fingers on the guitar string while you play along with the cd.
I found a pretty cool video on You Tube that helps demonstrate what I just discussed. I hope this helps you understand how to translate tablature to your guitar string and you will soon be learning your favorite songs in no time at all.