Hello Trikster and wellcome to LQ,
1) find a good book or tutorial about the C programminglanguage (the kernel is written in C)
2) install a distribution which will teach you Linux by using it. How about Slackware?
3) Learn the classic Unix-tools, vi (vim), sed, grep, bash, find and others (look at the manpages).
4) learn another (modern) scriptinglanguage like Python or Ruby or Perl.